Steve Wayne Steele, age 73, passed away peacefully at home in Jacksonville, Florida on December 16, 2020.
He was surrounded by his family and closest friends, including Pastor Ricky Powell of Fort Caroline Baptist Church.
Steve was born on May 2, 1947 in Richlands, Virginia, the only child of Claude R. Steele and Helen G. Steele.
While his early childhood was in Ohio, his summers were spent in Virginia at his maternal grandmother “Mawmaw Johnson’s” house.
He held his Johnson heritage in high esteem, planning family reunions to keep his clan close.
A born athlete, Steve earned a baseball scholarship to the University of Tennessee at Martin, playing third base on the University team.
Steve then played one season in the minor leagues for the farm team of the Montreal Expos.
He later coached high school basketball and baseball in Paris and Camden, Tennessee as well as being a math and history ninth grade teacher.
After owning a bait and tackle shop in Camden during his coaching career, he went into the construction industry in 1977.
He held various positions, leading him to his love of sales.
He worked with Wicks Buildings, Namasco and Southeastern Metals where he became a national sales manager of metal roofing products.
In late 1999 he began a new venture with his wife and brother in-law helping start Millennium Metals in Jacksonville, Florida.
He helped build Millennium Metals to the successful business it is today.
Ireland was a special travel destination for Steve and his wife, Tonya, and they made many good friends and special memories in the Emerald Isle.
A man who loved to play golf and won many tournaments over the years, Steve was a fantastic putter.
His golf buddies fondly nicknamed him “Rocky Top” echoing his love for all things Tennessee. He was an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, often camping in Crystal River with friends and family.
Steve was a devoted grandfather. In 2016, for his oldest grandson, Trevor, he purchased a cabin in the Smokies where he and Trevor spent many hours creek-walking together.
He loved to grill, entertaining many of his close friends with homemade sauces, rubs, and tasty barbeque.
A huge Tennessee football fan, he never missed a game on TV.
Everyone who knew Steve recognized his generosity and love of family and friends.
Many former students commented on how “Coach Steele” served as a great mentor and teacher.
In addition to being predeceased by his parents Claude and Helen Steele, Steve was also predeceased by his son Jason Steele and brother Michael Maxwell.
He is survived by his loving wife Tonya Michelle Steele, his son Kurt T. Steele (wife Sacha), his step-son, Christopher Cogan, and grandchildren Trevor Gramling, Riker Gramling, and Amelia Smith.
A long-time member of Ft. Caroline Baptist Church, Steve requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to Ft. Caroline Baptist Church, 11428 McCormick Road, Jacksonville, FL 32225, St. Jude Children’s Home in Knoxville, Tennessee, or Golden Corner Church in Walhalla, South Carolina, where his second-cousin, Tim McCall, is Pastor.
There will be a celebration of Steve’s life held at a later date in Jacksonville, Florida. Hardage-Giddens Chapel Hills Funeral Home is proud to serve the family.