AVENTURA, Fla. — William Kalman “Bill” Steiner, founder of Steiner-Atlantic Corp. and Dryclean USA, died Dec. 27 after a three-year struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 82.
The Chicago-born Steiner worked hard his entire life, beginning as a newsboy at age 9. He held part-time jobs throughout high school and worked his way through Baltimore Business College to earn his accounting degree.
While working as an accountant, a client asked Steiner to help him book rock ’n’ roll shows around Baltimore. Show business soon enthralled him, and he booked prominent 1950s stars such as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and the Kingston Trio at concerts around the country. But he eventually tired of the constant travel and moved in 1959 to Miami, where he met his future wife, Sheila. They married in 1961.
It was in Miami that Steiner began a new career in the dry cleaning business. He founded Steiner-Atlantic Corp., a distributor of commercial laundry and dry cleaning equipment, boilers, parts and service, in 1959. Michael Steiner took over the reins of that company in 1987.
After building and selling several of his own dry cleaning plants, Bill Steiner co-founded Dryclean USA, a dry cleaning business franchisor, in 1977. That business also continues through this day under Michael’s leadership.
Bill Steiner constantly sought to improve dry cleaning machinery in order to make the industry more environmentally friendly, and he is the holder of several patents for environmentally safe dry cleaning equipment and processes.
Bill and Sheila Steiner have been members of Beth Torah Congregation in Aventura for many years. They provided the educational center there in memory of son Jim, who died in a 1989 auto accident at age 21. But they were also generous in their community. In honor of their long-time support, the Jackson Memorial Hospital Foundation renamed a part of the hospital the Bill and Sheila Steiner Family North Lobby.
Surviving Steiner are his wife, Sheila; four sons, Robert, Richard, Michael and David; a brother, Tom; and four grandchildren.
Donations in Steiner’s memory may be made to the Beth Torah Congregation, Jackson Memorial Hospital, or the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.