C. Stephen Metzler, entrepreneur, HIV/AIDS activist, patron of the arts, business leader and philanthropist, passed away on March 24, 2015, surrounded by family and many loving friends from nearly every phase of his illustrious life.
Steve was born October 29, 1948, in Kansas City, Missouri, the oldest of six children born to Joan Elizabeth Ryan Metzler and Robert John Metzler. His great grandfather, Charles Sebastian Metzler, Sr., immigrated to Kansas City in 1887 from Stuttgart, Germany. Steve graduated from Rockhurst High School in 1967. He received a BBA from the University of Notre Dame in 1971, and an MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1976.
Steve joined his father at R. J. Metzler & Co. Insurance in 1971. In 1996, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the agency, the company name was changed back to Metzler Bros. Insurance. Steve was named president of Metzler Bros. in 1991, a title he held until 2013 when he merged the agency with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., and became Area Executive Vice President of Gallagher Metzler Insurance. Through Steve?s passion for and belief in the sustaining good of non-profit work, his company is today a leader in meeting the insurance needs of diverse non-profit agencies throughout Kansas City.
A deep commitment to small business and civic leadership led Steve to service on many boards, and as a skilled fundraising benefit chair or co-chair. He was: a major supporter of small business through the "25 Under 25" annual awards dinner; a founding board member of the Folly Theater, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey and Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; trustee, board member and/or board chair of the Kansas City Art Institute, AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Young Audiences, Westport Tomorrow, Rockhurst University, and the Girl Scouts. He served as interim president of the Kansas City Art Institute from August through December 2014.
Steve believed the arts were integral to the best in humanity and to the best of communities. His tireless and effective work for Kansas City?s arts organizations has grown spaces and endowments; stabilized leadership and transitions; given life to new creative energies; brought forth lasting memories and celebrations; and forged enduring friendships.
Steve also believed passionately in the power of diversity and devoted his boundless energy to finding new ways to bring together good people from all walks of life. This passion inspired his 30-year commitment to the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. Steve also loved to entertain, particularly for causes for which he cared deeply. His life?s motto was "saving the world one cocktail party at a time."
Steve loved Notre Dame, where he fostered lifelong friendships with more than a dozen classmates and their families. Steve?s Notre Dame friends gathered from around the country several times every year to celebrate birthdays, children?s weddings, and Notre Dame football.
Steve is survived by partner, Brian Williams; his five siblings, Molly (Chuck) Eberle, Rob (Marcia) Metzler, Tim (Libby) Metzler, Bill (Sandy) Metzler, and Tish (Robert) Anderson; 14 nieces and nephews, many god-children, and countless friends and admirers across the city and country. His life was a significant blessing to many, who are charged now with continuing the legacy of acceptance, action, generosity and love that were Steve?s trademark, and our joy.
Visitation will be Friday, March 27, 2015, from 6:00-9:00 pm, at St. Paul?s Episcopal Church, 11 East 40th St., Kansas City, MO. The Rosary will be said at 5:30 pm. A funeral service will be held at 10:00 am, on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at St. Paul?s Episcopal Church, with internment at Calvary Cemetery, Kansas City.
A public Celebration of Steve?s Life will be held on April 11, 2015, at the Folly Theater.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to AIDS Walk (www.aidswalkkansascity.org), Heartland Men?s Chorus (www.hmckc.org), the Folly Theater (www.follytheater.org), Kansas City Art Institute (www.kcai.edu), Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (www.kcfaa.org), the Metzler Family Scholarship Fund at Rockhurst High School (www.rockhursths.edu), or a charity of one?s choice.