Grace Steele

Grace Steele passed away Feb. 11/09, in Quesnel, B.C. Funeral services were held Monday, Feb. 16/09 at St. John the Divine Anglican Church at 2 p.m. followed by tea in the hall. Father Mark Moote officiated.

Grace was born March 16, 1926 in Vancouver to Elizabeth (Woods) and John Hamblin. She was the youngest child with siblings, Margaret, Jack, Win, Chris, and Stan. Grace grew up in Vancouver and graduated from Britannia Sec. She worked as a stenographer for National Biscuit Co. (1944/5) and for Union Steamships (1946) in Vancouver. Having received her teacher’s certificate, Grace first taught in Powell River (1946/7). On Feb. 1, 1947, in Vancouver, she married Hugh Steele. (Predeceased by Hugh, April 8, 1978). She has lived in Red Bluff since 1948.

Originally a teacher, Grace later became the first principal of Red Bluff Elem. During a one year teacher exchange in England, she connected with her English relatives who continue close family relationships to this day. In June, 1981 Grace retired from Carson Elem. Among her many interests, Grace held a pilot’s licence, enjoyed working her placer gold claims, and being a good musician, loved singing and played both piano and guitar. She had many beloved pets, cats and dogs, over the years.Gardening was a great pleasure for her, as was everyday life. She was wealthy in family, friends and laughter all her life.

She was an ardent supporter and member of the Hospital Auxiliary and the Quesnel Museum Society. As well, she was instrumental in saving the Hudson Bay Building and seeing it restored to its present condition. Many years were spent in support of Quesnel Red Cross Blood Donor Clinics. Grace volunteered as an archeological co-ordinator for this area; she participated in a ‘dig’ in Barkerville. Over the years, volunteer activities were many and varied; Grace said she wanted to give back to the community that had treated her so well. In 1989 the City of Quesnel recognized her contributions in naming her Citizen of the Year.

Grace is survived by: her brother, Stanley Hamblin (Van.), and her daughter, Maureen Steele; nieces and nephews: Joan, Penny, Dick, Patsy, Andy, Terry, Moira, Nelson, Lea, Danny, Stephen, Kim and Lynn; and many grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Grace lived at the home Hugh built for them until the last few weeks of her life, which were spent in hospital under the loving and caring hands of the superlative nurses and Dr. Grapes. The family wishes to extend our heartfelt thanks to them for making this difficult passage as humane and painless as possible.

Sister, wife, mother, auntie, friend, teacher, principal, fellow volunteer, community member, Grace was many things to different people. She will be missed.

As Grace was allergic to flowers, please send a donation to the Hospital Auxiliary on her behalf in lieu of flowers.