Former English professor,

Nichol Nelson

Martin Steinmann, a University professor with more than 30 years of service in the English department, died from pneumonia last Friday in Evanston, Ill. He was 83.
Steinmann, who grew up in the Twin Cities and received three degrees from the University, was known as a dedicated scholar by his contemporaries.
“He expected a great deal from his students, his colleagues, and of course, himself,” said Archibald Leyasmeyer, an English professor who worked with Steinmann.
Friends and family said Steinmann was a straight-shooter who liked to speak his mind.
“He did not suffer fools gladly,” said friend and colleague Robert Brown, professor of cultural studies and comparative literature.
Steinmann specialized in rhetoric and linguistics at the University. He served as the director of freshman English and as an associate professor before becoming a full professor. Steinmann advocated the use of theory in literature studies, Brown said.
Steinmann left the University to develop a rhetoric doctorate program for the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1979. English professor Edward Griffin said his departure was significant.
“It’s unusual for someone to be recruited in his 60s,” Griffin said. “He started a whole new academic life.”
Before he started teaching at the University, he earned a bachelor’s degree on campus. Then Steinmann joined the Navy during WWII, where he served as a lieutenant on the USS Massachusetts throughout the war. He returned to Minneapolis when his term finished and joined the University’s English department.
Steinmann’s widow, Jane, said her husband’s affection for painting and collecting antique maps and prints occupied his time outside of the classroom.
Steinmann is survived by his wife Jane, son John and his two daughters, Joan Steinmann-Wenzel and Catherine; as well as three grandchildren.