Command Sergeant Major (retired) Robert Louis Steele, a man devoted to God, family, and country, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.
He was born on September 22, 1930, in Washington, DC, into a family of nine. During the Great Depression, his father deserted the family, and his mother took on the difficult task of raising her children alone. Times were hard and provisions were sparse. At age 15, Bob dropped out of school and took on some part-time jobs to help his mother.
In 1950, he joined the Army and was deployed to Korea a year later, assigned as a corporal to the 2nd Infantry Division, 2nd Signal Company. After the war, he served in Germany, Vietnam, and Puerto Rico, where, in 1965, he became one of the first soldiers promoted into the Command Sergeant Major Program and was soon sent to Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. During these years, he also pursued his education and obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
He retired from the Army in 1970 and became the assistant county administrator in York County, later filling a similar position in Fauquier County. He retired from local government at age 65 and then worked as a deputy sheriff at the Yorktown Circuit Court building 1997-2000. His latest vocation was working part-time for the last 20 years, driving cars for Casey Toyota.
He was also active at the Regimental Memorial Chapel at Fort Eustis for more than 50 years. For many years, he sang in the choir, was chairman of the ushers, and was in charge of the lay readers. He was instrumental in starting the Men’s Ministry at the chapel in the 1980s, which implemented projects to help those in need in the community. Recently, a ceremony was held at the chapel to present to him and 2 other Korean War veterans the Korean War Ambassador for Freedom Medal.
Bob is survived by his devoted wife of 58 years, Robbie Steele; 6 children: Jeane Fink, Judy Hurley (Pat), David Steele (Lisa), Jennie Little (Tom), John Steele, and Carrie Petley (Ben); his daughter-in law, Karen Steele; two sisters, Camille Mahone and Ann Ireland; 17 grandchildren; and 25 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son, Robert Steele Jr., and his daughter, Jackie Lynn Haas, and 6 siblings.
Visitation will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 30, at Bucktrout Funeral Home in Williamsburg. Services will be held at 1 p.m. at the Regimental Memorial Chapel at Fort Eustis on Saturday, July 1. If you don’t have a military ID, you must go to the Fort Eustis Front Gate Visitor Center and register for a gate pass valid for Saturday’s funeral event prior to 3:00 p.m. Friday 6/30/2023.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville FL 32256.
Celebration of Life
Regimental Memorial Chapel at Fort Eustis - Directions
4124 Ironbound Road
- Friday, June 30, 2023
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM