Charles Steele

Charles Steele

MEDUSA – Charles Steele, an Army veteran, never stopped fighting.

“He was upset he was dying. He was concerned for his son,” said his sister, Joanne Steele. “He was a trouper.”

Mr. Steele died on Tuesday morning, April 9, 2019, at Mountain Valley Hospice House in Gloversville, New York of non-small-cell lung cancer. He was 55.

When Mr. Steele was just 28, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “It was in his neck and was Stage 4; it had spread to his spleen,” said his sister. “They removed his spleen.”

The cancer came back — twice — and he conquered it each time.

In 2010, while he was living in Virginia with his 10-year-old son, Mason, Mr. Steele had a heart attack. “We worked to get him here,” said his sister, who lives in Rensselaerville. “He drove himself here — him and Mason — in a U-Haul with his car on a tow hitch,” said his sister. “He had to give up driving after that.”

Mr. Steele was diagnosed with cancer again in October 2018.  

Joanne Steele took the picture of her brother that runs with this obituary after one of his chemo treatments. Their large far-flung family posts pictures of themselves — from as far away as Germany — on a Facebook site they’ve named The Steele Mix.

Ms. Steele snapped the photo for The Steele Mix. Is her brother flashing a peace sign or a victory sign?

“He’s doing, ‘Hey, I’m here,’” said Ms. Steele.

Charles Steele was born in Queens on Oct. 23, 1963, the youngest of the six children. His mother, Margaret Paterson Steele, was a homemaker and his father, John W. Steele, worked delivering appliances.

“Charlie was the baby of the family,” said his sister. “He was born the month before President Kennedy was shot. I was in the second grade.”

Like his brothers, Mr. Steele wore his hair short. “Dad always made the boys have crew cuts,” said Ms. Steele.

“After high school, he joined the Army,” said his sister. “He was good in the Army. He was a grunt.”

Mr. Steele was stationed in Korea, his sister said. “His clothes were the most organized they’ve ever been … He had his name sewn in everything, even his socks.”

After Mr. Steele was honorably discharged, he returned to Queens and worked in an Ace hardware store. He later joined his sister, Agnes, in Springfield, Virginia, where they both worked for Reico Kitchen & Bath. Mr. Steele delivered cabinets, Joanne Steele said. “Everybody loved him there.”

“He was there for many years. He got married and had a child. They separated and Charlie had custody of the child,” said his sister.

His son, Mason, is on the autism spectrum, and Mr. Steele was devoted to him, his sister said. “Charlie always wished he could do more for Mason. His illness kept him back … I always tell Charlie that Mason is smarter than both of us,” said Ms. Steele.

Mason, now 18, is due to graduate from Greenville Central School in June.

Mr. Steele was whole-hearted in all he did, including rooting for his favorite teams, the Mets and Giants. “Charlie would tell me he’d have to stop watching the Giants or he’d have a heart attack,” his sister said.

In his recent bout with cancer, Mr. Steele was in St. Peter’s Hospice acute care, his sister said. “Within three days, he was up and walking around. He had to leave because he was doing too well.”

After his transfer to the hospice in Gloversville, she said, “He was up and walking and moving till the day he died. He just kept on going. Always. He was on the go.”

****

Charles Steele is survived by his son, Mason; his siblings, John Steele and his wife, Vicky; Joanne Steele and her partner, Tim Zinn; Eileen Filardo and her husband, Joe; Michael Steele; and by many nieces and nephews.

His parents, Margaret Paterson and John W. Steele, died before him, as did his sister, Agnes Bailey, in 2015.

Calling hours will be Saturday, April 13, from 2 to 6 p.m. at A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home at 4898 Route 81 in Greenville, with a service of remembrance at 4:30 p.m. Cremation will be private. Mourners may leave condolences at ajcunninghamfh.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans or to the Salvation Army.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

More Obituaries

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  • VOORHEESVILLE — Joan Roeder Barron — a mother and grandmother, a teacher and librarian — died on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, at Our Lady of Mercy nursing home. She was 88.

  • VOORHEESVILLE — Lois Rapp Crounse, who crossed the country with her husband on a motorcycle before she settled in the Voorheesville home she loved, died Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, at St. Peter’s Hospital. She was 93.

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