Mike Steele touched the hearts of all who knew in Georgetown and beyond
By Cailyn Bean
“Mike Steele had the remarkable gift of making everyone he met feel like a rockstar. His character is the kind that legends are made of and deservedly so. One could go ages without seeing him, but when you did, he stopped everything and greeted you with such enthusiasm and interest you really walked away feeling like a million bucks,” Melissa Batchilder, originally from Georgetown, said.
Michael Terrance Steele of Georgetown, died suddenly on Saturday, June 29, 2013.
Mr Steele was well known in his community and beyond. He was a light-hearted, kind soul who loved dancing, playing cards and sharing jokes.
“To have the level of humility he carried and to be able to instill such a feeling of goodness in others, is a rare blessing. Of course, I would be remiss in not paying tribute to his manners, which were second to none. “Sir” and “m’am” were his signature terms and with his passing, Georgetown has lost its best friend,” Ms Batchilder said.
Jeannie Dobbin, who also lives in Georgetown, knew Mr Steele for more than 30 years but got to know him even better over the past nine years at Tuesday night ceilidhs in the County Capital.
Ms Dobbin and Mr Steele were dancing moments before he collapsed.
“He asked me if I wanted to stay up for another dance and I said yes, but then the band decided to take a break,” Ms Dobbin said.
“I was devastated,” she said. “It just goes to show you how precious and short life is - you can be dancing and laughing one minute and be gone the next.”
Cathy MacDonald, another resident of Georgetown, organizes the ceilidhs at the King’s Playhouse and has known Mr Stelle as long she can remember.
Ms MacDonald said Mr Steele was a good friend who would literally give someone the shirt off his back if he thought they needed it more than he did.
“I remember a few years ago, he came for a visit and he was wearing a t-shirt with the picture of a wolf on it. My husband (Bernie) loves anything with pictures of wolves on it. He was just joking but he said, ‘I like that shirt, Mike. You should give it to me.’ The next ceilidh, Mike showed up with the shirt in a bag and told me to give it to my husband. I told him, ‘No he was only joking,’ and Mike said, ‘No, he likes wolves. Take it,’” Ms MacDonald said.
Georgetown Mayor Lewis Lavandier said, “Mike was one of those special people you maybe meet once in a lifetime.”
This sentiment is shared by many throughout the community.
“He was a wonderful person. I don’t think he ever had a cross word for anybody,” said Faye Rilley of Georgetown, who has also known Mr Steele for most of her life.
“If anyone was sick he’d be there to help,”Ms Dobbin said. “He used to drive my brother to his dialysis treatments.”
“It was nothing for him to stop by for a cup of tea and a chat,” Ms MacDonald said.
“He was a gentleman,” Ms Dobbin said. “If he met you he’d call you ma’am and shake your hand.”
Over the years, Mr Steele was challenged by health issues, including cancer, but his situation never seemed to dampen his spirits.
“He’d always say, ‘there’s someone out there worse off than me,” Ms Rilley said, “Those were his words.”
Mayor Lavandier remembers Mr Steele with fondness.
“He was one of those characters. If he didn’t agree with what you were saying he wasn’t shy about telling you,” he said. “He loved his family. They always came first for him. He was always involved in the community with the seniors groups. I think he knew everyone in Kings County. He loved sports and hockey. You couldn’t go to the rink during hockey season and not see him. He’s going to be missed in this community, and probably most of Kings County.”
Ms MacDonald said, “He was one of the most loved and well liked people in town. He always had something friendly to say to everyone. I don’t think he ever had an enemy.”
Mr Steele was 68. He leaves behind his wife Betty Ann (Stevens), three children: Timmy Stevens, Terri Steele and Paige Steele, and seven grandchildren: Abigial, Blake, Damien, Ethan, Felicity, Jennifer and Michael. His funeral was held Thursday at St James Catholic Church, Georgetown. Burial was in St James Catholic Parish Cemetery.
Mike Steele, 68, was well loved by Georgetown residents where he lived. He died suddenly on June 28. Submitted photo