menu close menu


Obituaries » Stephen Burl Schnorf

Stephen Burl Schnorf

November 18, 1944 - February 27, 2017

Visitation:  A visitation will be held from 2:00-4:30 p.m. on March 30, 2017, at the State Capitol in Illinois with a celebration of his life following at 5:00 p.m.

Obituary Viewed 743 times


Stephen “Steve” Burl Schnorf, 72, of Rochester, Ill., died of pancreatic cancer on Feb. 27, 2017 at St. John’s Hospice in Springfield, Ill.

Steve was born Nov. 18, 1944, in Charleston, Ill., the eldest of four sons of Burl and Marjorie Baker Schnorf. After graduating from Charleston High School in 1962, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Eastern Illinois University, where he met his future wife, Jane Ann Elmore. In 1993 he was awarded EIU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Steve began his career as a high school history teacher in Robinson, Ill., and later took pride that he continued to be invited to the reunions of classes he had taught 50 years prior. After 12 years with non-profit organizations serving people with disabilities, Steve embarked on a remarkable 22-year career with the State of Illinois. One of his favorite positions was as Director of Driver Services for then-Secretary of State Edgar, as it allowed him to explore every corner of the state. He proudly served as a senior adviser and cabinet member for Governors Edgar and Ryan, including as the Director of CMS and Director of the Bureau of the Budget for both. After partially retiring in 2002, he continued to serve on State commissions. He was exceptionally well-respected and admired across the political spectrum for his deep knowledge of and commitment to Illinois government, and he maintained deep friendships forged over the course of his life. He was a passionate contributor to the Capitol Fax blog, championing bipartisan cooperation to best serve the people of Illinois.

An avid motorcycle rider and lover of old country and bluegrass music, Steve was most proud of his family. His wife, Jane, helped overhaul Illinois child welfare policy to better protect children and continues to be a political and community activist. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth Elmore, was a musician who appeared in Rolling Stone and now works as a United Nations war crimes prosecutor in The Hague. His middle daughter, Rebecca Schnorf, married to Jim Watts, has continued her parents’ public service, working in association management in Springfield while raising two bright, spirited and loving children. His youngest, Quin Elmore, is flourishing in college, raising a new baby while completing her undergraduate degree and preparing to pursue graduate studies.

Over the last years of his life, Steve most delighted in his grandchildren – Jaelyn, 8; Jensen, 4; and Zion, 2½ months. Watching the mutual adoration, love and silliness between them was a joy to behold.

In addition to his immediate family, Steve is survived by his brothers, David (Cindy), Marty and Jim (Karen) Schnorf.  He will be fiercely and forever missed.

A visitation will be held from 2:00-4:30 p.m. on March 30, 2017, at the State Capitol in Illinois with a celebration of his life following at 5:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to: The Marjorie Baker Schnorf Teaching Scholarship (EIU Office of University Development, 600 Lincoln Ave., Charleston, IL 61920) or Rochester Public Library District (1 Community Dr., Rochester, IL 62563).

Light A Candle

Light A Candle for a loved one, leave your name and choose an image.

Choose a candle or special image.