Cover photo for Paul Steele's Obituary
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1948 Paul 2024

Paul Steele

August 24, 1948 — May 20, 2024

Paul Steele was born on August 24, 1948 and grew up in his family house in Memphis, TN with his parents Gwen and Harry, and his five siblings - Chuck, Julia, Barbara, David and Susan. When Paul was young, he was a handful, a trait that carried over into adulthood. During his school years he gravitated to sports and would "play anything with a ball" and contributed to his high school team placing 2nd in state in 1966. He attended one year at Harding University, and if you asked what he majored in, he would say it was basketball. He was drafted into the Marines during the Vietnam war and served as a payroll clerk for his two years of duty. He had an eclectic mix of careers after being honorably discharged from the service, including welding, city supervisor, and cosmetology. He loved his motorcycle, in which he traveled around the country to work jobs in ironworking.

He met his wife Robin Steele in 1987 and they had two children, Jonathan Steele and Sarah Steele. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2005 and battled valiantly while being a stay at home dad. He never could sit still no matter how sick he was. In the last 20 years he dedicated his time to taking his kids on adventures and creating his man cave and outdoor oasis. A man of many talents, there was pretty much nothing he couldn't do. He could do any home DIY project, create delicate portraits and woodcarvings, make furniture, whip up a traditional southern supper, and was a personal hair stylist for his family and friends among many other things. Despite his many health issues, he always remained fiercely independent with an indomitable spirit, never failing to make people laugh. He was also incredibly stubborn. Whether it was installing cabinets directly after his open heart surgery or climbing up on the roof last month to clean the gutters, you could never tell him what to do. He always lived by the philosophy of why pay someone when you can probably figure it out yourself. Granted, most of these projects would eventually be accomplished but with a longer than expected timeline, a few reluctant volunteers (victims), and occasional curses.

Paul was a wallflower but had a scathing wit about him. He had an inability to be serious in almost any situation, even during the toughest times. He was what most would consider emotionally repressed, but he showed his love through gifts and acts of service. He would delay any event if his hair wasn't laid perfectly with pomade and he still tucked in his button up shirts with a belt for most things. He was stubborn and always had to be right. If he was wrong it obviously wasn't his fault. He complained a lot about the family pets, even though in secret he would keep a box of treats for them and keep a heating blanket available. In the end he lived the way he wanted, which surely gave his doctors and his family some extra gray hairs. All this and more is the reason why he was loved so fiercely by so many people. He was a great man that had many unfair hands dealt to him. He fought to remain who he was until the very end.

He passed away on May 20th at 1:41pm, being held by his wife, children, siblings, and nephew. He will have a military burial Friday, May 31, at 10:30 am in Chattanooga National Cemetery.


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