William (Bill) M. Steger was born on August 22, 1920 in Dallas, TX. During World War II he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps as a fighter pilot, flying 56 missions over Italy. After the war, he served out his enlistment as a test pilot at Elgin Air Force Base. He was honorably discharged in 1945 and returned to Dallas where he enrolled in law school at Southern Methodist University. While working toward his law degree, Steger met Ann Hollandsworth; they were married on February 14, 1948. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1950 and, interested in the oil industry, Steger moved his family to Longview, Texas where he entered private practice.
In 1952, Steger became the Eisenhower-Nixon campaign chair for Gregg County. After Eisenhower won reelection, he appointed Steger to the position of United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas in 1953. This appointment won the approval of the powerful Senate majority leader, (then) Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. Steger moved his family (now with a young son, Merritt "Reed" Steger) to Tyler, Texas - the primary seat of the district court. During his time as U.S. Attorney, Steger tried cases before Judge Bill Sheehy, who served as the sole judge for the Eastern District of Texas at that time. Steger spent much of his time prosecuting bank embezzlers, including the First National Bank of Lewisville case that resulted in the conviction of two female bank employees for five years. He resigned from his position as U.S.Attorney in 1959 to return to private practice and to run for Governor of Texas.
In 1960, the race for governor pitted Steger against incumbent Price Daniel. While Texas was, at this point, a state which favored Democratic politicians, Steger performed well in the election. In fact, the support he garnered in the governor's race demonstrated the need for a Republican primary in Texas, something which had been heretofore deemed unnecessary. In 1962, Steger ran for United States Congress and - despite another respectable election performance - lost again to incumbent Congressman Lindley Beckworth. Notwithstanding these losses, Steger remained active and influential in Republican Party politics and was influential in the party's continued development. In 1969, he was elected Chairman of the Texas Republican Party.
President Richard Nixon appointed Steger to the federal bench as a United States District Judge to the Eastern District of Texas on December 1,1970. During his time on the federal bench, Steger presided over 372 cases. Among these were several important RICO cases, the most famous being United States v. Rex Cauble. While he served most of his years at the Tyler location, he did hear cases for a brief time out of the Beaumont court (1971 - 1978). When reaching 65 years of age in 1987, he took senior status and continued to serve the Court on a full time basis. Steger died on June 4, 2006 and, in honor of his service to the community and the judiciary, the United States Congress passed a bill renaming the federal courthouse in Tyler, Texas as the "William M. Steger Courthouse and Federal Building."