at his college graduation.
Bill, “Billy”, Steele was the baby boy with
three much older sisters: Helen, Jean and Ruth. Little Billy was the
only son of Presbyterian minister John Calvin Steele and Bertha Taylor
Steele. He was always exhorted to “study his Latin.” Sadly, his
chemistry would have been much more useful at Carnegie Tech where he
studied Civil Engineering (and played on the football team).
Wendy wearing Bertha Taylor's wedding gown. When Linda and Randy
get back from Alaska, we hope to get some actual pictures of Rev. and
Mrs. Steele to add.
Bertha was the daughter of an immigrant from
England. Her father Henry started working in the coal mines at age 6 and
could only go to school at night. Although he was never able to finish
school himself, he made sure that after immigrating to the U. S., all of
his children received college educations. Bertha graduated with a B. A.
in education. Her sister Ann graduated from Women’s Medical College in
Philadelphia (now Pennsylvania Medical College where a building is named
for her) and had a thriving obstetrics practice. It was no surprise that
Bertha’s three daughters and 5 granddaughters all obtained college
degrees, one of her daughters and 2 granddaughters even earned graduate
Little Billy grew into Bill Steele, an introverted
engineering type. He was sharing an apartment in Pittsburgh with his
sister Ruth who was working as personal secretary to the CEO of Heinz.
One day a lovely, gregarious, young nursing student at Margaret Mellon
(Carnegie Tech’s sister school) caught Bill’s eye. Through shear
persistence, he finally convinced her to go on a date with him. Some 55
years later they are still together. They have 5 daughters (Donna,
Brenda, Linda, Barb, and Mart), 9
granddaughters, 2 grandsons, 1 great-grandson, and 1 great-grandson on
his way (that would be Isaac, of course).
After a lot of moving around while Bill worked on
the railroad in the early years, the Steeles settled in Beaver, PA to
raise their family. In 2002, however, they moved to Sherwood Oaks
Retirement Community in Cranberry Twp, PA. We're sure that Bill is glad
right now that he doesn't have any steps to climb...he fell and
fractured his leg on Aug. 8.
Jeanne Eleanor Hecht
Jeanne at her college graduation.
Jeanne was the tag-along baby of Charles and
Henrietta Hecht. In fact, her nieces and nephews weren’t much younger
than she. Jeanne grew-up in Pittsburgh surrounded by oodles of siblings
and nieces and nephews. One day Henrietta read in the newspaper about a
new institution being started in Pittsburgh by Andrew Carnegie. It was a
college where the children of steel workers could get an education.
(Carnegie Mellon has progressed rather far away from these humble
beginnings. They might do well to remember the reason for their founding.)
Henrietta decided she was going to see to it that her children all went to
college—even her two daughters.
Jeanne graduated with a degree in nursing and
eventually married Bill Steele. Unlike Bill, Jeanne was a real socialite.
She spent the first few years of her marriage trying to get him to join
social groups like the Kiwanis. Finally, Bill told her, “Honey, I
didn’t get married so I could spend all day with a bunch of men and then
go spend my evenings with them, too.”
Jeanne stopped nursing to raise her 5 daughters, then
went back to work. By the time Wendy came along, she was director of
nursing at Jewish Home in Pittsburgh. After a few years of retirement, she
and Bill got restless and began a decade-long series of hospital building
projects first in Zaire and then in Kenya.