Russel 'Joe' Steele


OAKWOOD -- Russel L. "Joe" Steele, 91, formerly of Oakwood, passed away Friday, February 1, 2013, in the Ohio Veterans Home, Sandusky, where he had been a resident for the past 5 1/2 years.

He was born July 23, 1921, in Paulding County, the son of William and Melvia (Cramer) Steele. On June 23, 1944, he married Willie "Billie" Lee Wynn and she preceded him in death on June 2, 2006. He was also preceded in death by his parents; a son, Joseph Michael Steele; two brothers, Francis and Harold Steele; and a sister, Olive Pessefall.

Joe is survived by a sister, Helen Mae Bieniek of Temperance, Mich.; and several nieces and nephews

Joe proudly served his country in the Army during World War II, and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He worked for Toledo Edison and for 18 years at the GM Powertrain, retiring in 1981. Joe was a member of the VFW Post 3360 of Defiance, Disabled American Veterans, United Auto Workers 211, IBEW 245 and the Ogeechee Masonic Lodge 213 F&AM.

Funeral services for Joe will be Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 1 p.m. in the Hanenkrath-Clevenger-Schaffer Funeral Home, Defiance, with Rev. C. Joseph Fifer officiating. Visitation will begin on Tuesday at the funeral home, two hours prior to the funeral starting at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Sherman Cemetery, with military honors provided by the members of VFW Post 3360.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Masonic Children's Home of Georgia, 1417 Notingham Drive, Macon, Ga. 31211; or the donor's choice. Online condolences may be made at

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  • I am so sorry to hear about Joe! I am one of Ron Matson's childrens. I just heard the news tonight and I can't get off of work at such short notice. Otherwise, I would be there to show my respect. I dearly loved Joe. My dad had such deep respect for him and Billie. They did a lot for my dad. I got to visit them when my dad came home from Arizona once. I also came to the visitation for Billie and got to see Joe. He was always such a joy to talk to. I also delivered the news to Joe when my dad passed away. His voice was so comforting to me. I will miss him. I'm sure Billie and dad welcomed him with opened arms. With deepest sympathy, Robin Matson Sheaks