Rev. Philip Paul Steele, 83, went to be with the Lord on Saturday, December 12, 2020, at Park Place Assisted Living in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Born February 17, 1937 in Kalamazoo, Michigan to Alice Eugenia (Bishop) and Philip Hoyt Steele, Rev. Steele graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1955. He attended Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in June 1963 and a Master of Guidance and Counseling degree. While attending WMU from 1958-1961 he was employed at the Bryant Division of the Allied Paper Corporation. He attended the Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio, where he received his Master of Divinity Degree on May 2, 1966.
Rev. Steele served 45 years as a pastor in the West Michigan Conference and continued service as an ordained minister of The United Methodist Church on Honorable Location. He served as the Methodist delegate to the Michigan Council of Churches and to WMU’s Ecumenical Institute. While attending Seminary, he was actively involved in the Interseminary Movement, serving as Regional Secretary, and chairing a Methodist-E.U.B. dialogue between the Ohio Seminaries of the two churches in 1966. Rev. Steele was a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis. He studied Hebrew and the Old Testament under Dr. Simon J. DeVries, a Reformed scholar.
Rev. Steele ministered to many in the community and served as pastor of United Methodist churches in: Schoolcraft; Wolf-Lake Sitka, Muskegon; Cooper Congregational, Kalamazoo; Cooper; Portage; Coopersville; Battle Creek Birchwood; Almena; Climax-Scotts; Jones; Oakwood; Milwood; and Lane Boulevard, Portage. In addition, he preached at the Mattawan Congregational United Church of Christ where he met his wife Nancy Lou-Ellen Wheeler. He received the Order of St. Luke vows while on tour in the holy land in Israel in 1990. He was blessed to travel twice to the holy land.
Rev. Steele married his soulmate of 61 years, Nancy, on June 20, 1957 at the Mattawan Congregational Church. They honeymooned in Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Together they had three children Mark, Melody and Genipher.
Rev. Steele worked at the V.A. Medical Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, counseling drug addicts and alcoholics for 26 years until his retirement in 1997. He officiated for the Easter Sunrise Service at Fort Custer National Cemetery, working with Battle Creek Commandery #33. K.T., from 1982 to 2013.
Rev. Steele was a member of the Saint Luke’s Choristers for many years and was a member of the Milwood United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo. He loved to sing and had most of the Methodist hymnal memorized.
He will be dearly missed for his love of life, music and his family. Left to celebrate his memory are his children: Mark Steele, Melody (Scott Pike) Steele-Martin, Genipher (Kurt) Oswalt; Grandchildren Rhiannon (Jake) Norvell, Katelyn Hope Martin and Dario, his Canine Companions for Independence Service Dog, Brandyn (Kristin Rice) Steele-Aldag, Miranda Jacqueline Martin; and great-grandson, Shadow Beebe. Also surviving are six of his seven siblings: Naomi (Lawrence)Franklin, Gwen (Wendell) Nielson, Linda Holdeman, Becky (John) Terry, Yvonne (David) Richards, and Harry (Stephanie) Steele, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy, parents, son-in-law Alfred Martin Jr, brother James Steele, and brother-in-law Jay Holdeman.
He shared love, faith, hope and joy with so many through his words and heartfelt kindness. He will forever be remembered for preaching the word of God, sharing his love of God, and teaching about faith and Christianity. His love and support for others will forever be his legacy.
The family is planning Masonic service and a Celebration of Life at Milwood United Methodist Church, 3919 Portage Road, Kalamazoo, Michigan on July 3, 2021 with the Rev. Dr. James Morgan officiating. Interment with a Masonic graveside service will be at Maple Grove Cemetery in Mattawan, Michigan.
Donations may be made to The Mattawan Lodge Masonic Scholarship Fund, Mattawan Lodge #268, c/o Kevin Perry, 826 Wickford Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 or to The Milwood United Methodist Church.
To read more and share online condolences visit the Adams Funeral Home, Paw Paw.