William “Bill” Steele, 85, of Caledonia

 

William “Bill” Steele passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on February 11, 2020 at the Tweeten Care Center in Spring Grove, MN. It was such a blessing to have the wonderful staff from Tweeten Care Center provide loving care to him during his stay and joined by the caring staff of Heartland Hosice on his final journey.

 

“A caring presence has profound power. Those who offer warm attention make the difference between being treated and being blessed.”

 

Bill was born on January 24, 1935 to Ben and Luella Steele and was one of six children that grew up in the Winnebago Valley. At the early age of 16 he started building bridges with Griffith Construction. His kids remember hearing that he was “one of the best crane operators around!” There’s a pretty good chance on your daily travels you cross at least one of the many bridges that Bill helped build. He returned to the Valley years later to raise

his eight children. After retiring at the age of 75 from Minnowa Construction, Bill’s sons made sure that he would be ‘back home’ overlooking the Winnebago Valley in God’s Country.

Bill learned to enjoy his retirement and said ‘every day was Sunday’. We treasured this extra time with our dad. As his oldest son shares, “He is not just my dad, he is my best friend.” His sons created projects to keep his legendary dozer skills sharp. He loved nature and watching everything grow. Most Saturday mornings in the summer you could find him tending to the family garden. There was never enough lawn for Bill to mow. He always had the yard ‘looking pretty good.’ He loved to cut firewood to keep the home fires burning and had more stacked firewood than you could shake a stick at. As a grandson joked “when you cut a jag of wood with grandpa, you better pack a lunch!” Bill liked to keep busy and always looked for a reason to fire up his new John Deere tractor; whether it was moving hay bales or pushing snow. Driving his pickup on the backroads with his little dog Jackie was a daily routine. Most mornings he and Jackie ventured to town to stop by the Country Store for a good cup of coffee and then to swing by the Caledonia Bakery for a donut! They would head back to town again in the afternoon and go to the Dairy Queen because ‘Jackie wanted an ice cream cone’. He and Jackie made many trips to New Albin to get a ring of bologna and stop at the bank. Bill never turned down a good home-cooked meal and always saved room for a little ice cream! The grandchildren will always remember Grandpa Bill giving them a stick of his favorite Doublemint gum. He was a man of faith and enjoyed listening to John Hegge. He would look forward to his favorite “Dancing With The Stars” on Monday nights. His daughters would make him smile by telling him he was “the most handsome man in Houston County.” He was a kind and gentle man with a clever sense of humor. Even in his final days he and his little dog Jackie charmed the staff and residents at the Tweeten Care Center.

After celebrating his recent 85th birthday with family and friends a birthday card summed it up best .... “It takes a good man to be a great dad”. Bill has always been dearly loved by his children Rick, Randy, Tina, Mike, Jerry, Diane, Jim and Ben. He will be greatly missed by all those who knew him and loved him; many friends, entire family including all of his grandkids and great grandkids, and his Minnowa family.

There will be a Celebration of Life honoring Bill on Saturday, February 29 at the Four Seasons Community Center in Caledonia. The visitation will start at 1 p.m. with Pastor Pam Steele honoring him with a prayer service at 2 p.m. All are invited to share their favorite memory of Bill. The family would like to thank McCormick Funeral Home for assisting with the arrangements

“Dad. His title may be short, but his influence is long and powerful.”