Thomas Joseph Steele


Thomas J. Steele of Weatherford, TX died at home January 28 , 2019 surrounded by extended family. Tom was born Feb. 5, 1933 in South Gate, CA to Leo Francis Steele and Mary Viola (White) Steele.
Tom took to the skies early as a schoolboy when he flew in a Goodyear blimp. This sparked a lifetime love of aviation leading to a career in the United States Air Force as a fighter pilot, then flying commercially for Braniff International and Continental Airlines until his retirement in 1999.
After he graduated from Loyola University, he married Edwina Decker in 1956 who became an adventurous life navigator. Their surviving children are Donna Taliaferro, Sharon Steele, Bryan and (Ethel Allen) Steele, Greg and (Stefani Katz) Steele , Eric and (Laura Grandi) Steele , Edwin and (Bethany) Steele and foster son Gonzalo Camacho. The family celebrated the 63rd wedding anniversary last week. Memories included many years of extra care for foster babies, exchange students, and international visitors. Tom housed, hosted, and parented dozens of children besides his original six and thirteen grandchildren. He taught by example, stressing education, hard work, charity, and financial responsibility. He loved to talk and challenge ideas and opinions to provoke further thought and discussion.
Tom is survived by his wife Edwina Steele and children. He was preceded in death by his parents. His surviving siblings: Mary Frances Burrough, James Steele, and George (Barbara) Steele were visiting and supporting him up to his death.
A funeral mass will take place Friday, Feb.1 at 11:00 at St Stephen Chapel at 211 S. Main St in Weatherford, TX officiated by Fr. Michael O'Sullivan. A celebration meal will follow at St. Stephen Church Hall 1802 Bethel Rd, Weatherford. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Salvation Army.
From the poem "High Flight":
"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
...with silent, lifting mind I've trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God."
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Published on January 31, 2019
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