Albert Lea native, well known philanthropist and investment strategist, dies at 85

Published 4:11 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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Albert Lea native Steve Leuthold, a man whose friends and associates say loved Albert Lea, died March 7. Leuthold, who most recently lived in Carlsbad, California, was known for his investments and impact in his hometown.

Steve Leuthold

Leuthold, 85, was an expert in the investment field, and he appeared on financial programs and spoke at investment conferences. He also contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s Newsweek and Business Week.

Leuthold funded and founded the Steven C. Leuthold Family Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations.

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He was born in 1937 and graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1956. He then joined the Army National Guard to help pay his college tuition and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1960. He first worked as a commodities trainee at Cargill, an investment analyst at Paine Webber, an investment strategist at Piper, Jaffray & Hopwood, and a portfolio manager at Criterion Investment Management.

He started his own investment firm, the Leuthold Group, in 1981 in Minneapolis, according to his obituary. He spent most of his adult life in the Twin Cities, but frequently visited Bailey Island, Maine, in the summers. According to an obituary, it was his favorite place in the world.

Manny Steil, a fellow ’56 Albert Lea High School graduate, knew Leuthold since childhood.

“Went to school with Steve, a close friend of Steve and have stayed close friends over the years,” he said.

He described Leuthold, a Distinguished Alumni of Albert Lea High School, as a leader from an early age.

“In school he was the student council president, and he was in music and he was in sports,” he said. “As a youth he had an impact and over the years.”

And Leuthold was involved.

Steil said Leuthold remained philanthropic, noting he gave back to the area, including Riverland Community College.

“When you grow up in a town of at that time about 14,000 people,… a community like that people knew people from every quarter of the town “ he said, noting Leuthold had a place in his heart for Albert Lea.

In 2011, he gave a substantial donation to the Freeborn County Humane Society to help support its current animal shelter.

Above all, Steil said Leuthold cared for people, cared for clients and cared about Albert Lea.

In fact, according to Steil there is still a small group of Albert Lea High School graduates that get together annually for a trip.

“It’s called the Stagnation Boys,” Steil said. “… So we’ve stayed friends over all the years.”

Al Arends knew Leuthold through the Pathways to Success program.

“I knew that Steve was [a] very successful manager of money,” Arends said. “He was internationally respected as to how our economy was going.”

In fact, Arends nominated Leuthold for the Pathways Program in 2008, one year after the program started. The Pathways to Success program honors ALHS graduates who achieve success.

“He was so well-known,” he said.

And like Steil, Arends remembered Leuthold loved Albert Lea and the old high school between Clark and Water streets.

“He felt terrible when they tore it down,” Arends said.

He also remembered Leuthold as being respected by his classmates.

In his later years, Leuthold moved from Minnesota to Carlsbad, California.

“You enjoyed being with Steve Leuthold when you were with him,” Steil said.

In 2015 he was inducted into the Twin Cities Business Hall of Fame for his lifetime of achievement.