Steve will be dearly missed by his immediate family – Sarah and Jackson Brodwolf (children), Karen Braun (former wife), Susan and Chris Hanselman (sister and brother-in-law), and Nick Hanselman (nephew) (Will Selnik) and Emily Minihan (niece) (Jack) – along with many adoring and life-long friends.
Steve had many accomplishments: he was an “advertising icon,” deeply talented artist, sports enthusiast, thoughtful friend, and beloved father.
Steve humbly referred to himself as an “ad guy.” Alongside partners from DDB Needham and Foote, Cone & Belding, Steve created campaigns that passed the test of time: “It’s not delivery. It’s DiGiorno,” for Kraft Foods; “Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood” for Applebee’s; and bringing John Wayne back to life for Coors Brewing Company, among a wide variety of others. Steve was given a gold medal in the International Film Festival for Art Direction, chosen and featured in the Art Directors Annual, and recognized for his creative contributions to a long list of successful advertising endeavors.
Within the past few years, Steve became known for posting daily photos that he took while running along the lakefront of Chicago. Every morning, friends and followers looked forward to engaging with his unique ability to capture the beauty of the everyday, and to find the perfect lyrics to accompany the images that he shared. Lyrics came to him easily, as a lifelong fan of great songwriters like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and, most notably, the Beatles, for which a bigger fan, many would argue, does not exist.
Steve has always been a drawer and painter. His father and mother, Don and Ruth Brodwolf, both of whom are deceased, made sure that, a young Steve always had paper, pencils, and paint brushes. In his adulthood, Steve put the skills he learned while working with these tools to use. He painted The Jungle Book’s Baloo the Bear on a desk for his nephew’s birthday, and Monsters Inc.’s Sulley and Boo on a table and chairs for one of Sarah and Jack’s most-cherished Christmas gifts. He took this talent and, for several years, painted entries in Chicago’s “Celebrity Charity Chair Auction,” pulling in significant proceeds by painting the likes of Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, and Disney characters onto wooden chairs. Steve continued painting on canvas, sometimes with his often-talked-about fellow painters, who are still part of a Friday painting group. His oil paintings hang on the walls of family and friends’ homes, which was his favorite place to see them.
An avid sports fan, Steve would have daily exchanges with his son about trades, plays, and strategies for the Bears, Cubs, and Blackhawks. Together, Steve and Jack celebrated three championships with the Blackhawks and one with the Cubs – and were looking forward to what Justin Fields will bring to the Bears.
The only team he rooted for more was his family. Steve’s loud cheers were the source of much encouragement, and only mild embarrassment, during Sarah’s soccer and Jack’s football games. When off the bleachers, Steve contributed his skills to his children’s schoolwork, often by art-directing the many tri-fold poster boards that they would create throughout grades 4 through 8. Sarah and Jack remember fondly the times that they were instructed to glue their printed text on top of colored construction paper to “create contrast” against the boards’ white background, and use a ruler to ensure that photographs were evenly placed and pleasing to the eye.
But it wasn’t just support that he offered; Steve was also a moral compass for his children. He taught catechism at Faith, Hope & Charity Church for several years, becoming a sought-after instructor after word spread that he would bring a microphone to his classrooms to play “Jesus Jeopardy” every week with his students. He encouraged his family to take bike rides through the Skokie Lagoons Trail, got up early to solidify their first place in line at the Dumbo ride at Disney World, and would quickly learn and perform any song on the guitar that came requested by his loved ones.
Steve will be remembered for his brilliant creative mind, widely appreciated support, and thoughtful approach to life and the relationships that define it. We will forever miss his presence, but we know that his spirit will live on.
A funeral mass will be held at Faith, Hope & Charity Church, located at 191 Linden Street, Winnetka, IL, at 10 a.m. CT on Friday, September 2, 2022.
A reception to celebrate his life will follow from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Living Room (3rd Fl.) at Wolf Point East, located at 313 West Wolf Point Plaza, Chicago, IL. All are welcome at both or either event.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to your favorite charity.