CUMBERLAND — Norman L. Steele, 74, of Cumberland, died quietly June 1 with his loving family by his side, after a brief battle with cancer.
He was born June 8, 1938, in Cumberland, the son of Jennie G. Steele and Millard Steele. He grew up in Cumberland and lived there until he moved to Dorchester, Mass., for his senior year of high school. Steele graduated from Dorchester High School early, and immediately joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. He served for more than 30 years, combined active and reserve service, retiring as a chief warrant officer, specializing in marine engineering.
Steele worked for several years as the shop foreman at W. J. Connell Diesel Fuel Injection Service, before moving to General Electric Heat Transfer Products in South Portland. During his 15 years there, he held a number of management positions including production control specialist, production foreman, buyer, product planner, and numerical control computer programmer. When GE moved away, Steele went to work at Bath Iron Works as a project engineer and senior production analyst in aegis shipbuilding program management for 13 years.
He was a passionate gardener and a 25-year master gardener volunteer for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. He focused on helping the less fortunate by donating 12,000 pounds of fresh produce from his gardens to local food pantries and soup kitchens. He also participated in many gleanings at local farms and apple orchards over the years. In 2005, he was selected in a national competition as the Scotts Lawn and Garden Products company’s good neighbor gardener of the year. This was followed by a Governor’s Service Award from Maine Governor Baldacci in 2006.
Steele is survived by his wife of 55 years, Margery J. Steele; a son, Bruce M. Steele, of Raymond; a daughter, Lynell R. Parry, and her husband, Christopher Parry, of Cumberland; a brother, Raymond C. Steele, and his wife, Patricia A. Steele, of Leesburg, Va.; seven grandchildren, Amanda M. Smith, of Arundel; Karrah M. Ricards, and her husband, Michael Ricards, of Cumberland; Danielle E. Steele, of Orange, Texas; Rikilyn M. Parry, of Cumberland; Tricia M. Parry, of Cumberland; Carleigh A. Steele, of Raymond; Rhys F. Parry, of Cumberland; four great-grandchildren: Dylan Ricards, Lexie Ricards and Mason Norman Ricards, of Cumberland; and Giamae Smith, of Arundel.
A visitation will be held 6 p.m. Sunday at Lindquist Funeral Home, One Mayberry Lane, Yarmouth. A funeral service with full military honors will be held 3:30 p.m. Monday at the Tuttle Road United Methodist Church, 52 Tuttle Road, Cumberland. A reception will follow at the church.