Updated: Feb 23, 2021
Keith Wesley Steele, 73, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, February 21, 2021, at Sanctuary Hospice House. He was born in New Salem Community on June 20, 1947 to the late Woodrow Steele and the late Corinne Mattox Harrison. A talented athlete, he was a graduate of Itawamba Agricultural High School and Itawamba Junior College, where he played both football and basketball. His love of the game guided him to a career in teaching and coaching. He earned his Bachelor's degree in secondary education from the University of Southern Mississippi and later, a Master's of School Administration from the University of Mississippi. A devoted and caring husband, he married Cathy Keith on July 15, 1973 at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Tupelo. To this sacred union, they added their beloved daughters, Meisha and Leah. Coach Steele's career included coaching football at Kossuth, Starke (FL), Bruce, Amory, Tishomingo County, IAHS, New Albany, and South Pontotoc. He was a gifted strategist of the game and became a trusted mentor to generations of coaches who followed in his footsteps . Keith went on to serve in administrative positions at W.P. Daniel High School in New Albany, Shannon Middle School and Saltillo High School. In 2014, he retired as assistant superintendent of Lee County Schools after over thirty years in education. Described by those he led as fair, supportive, and compassionate, he will be remembered for his giving spirit, wise advice, and witty sense of humor. Known as "Pop" to his adored grandchildren, his greatest joy was his family. He and Cathy enjoyed traveling and showing their family the world. Just as they hoped, these trips created special bonds and lasting memories for their children and grandchildren. In his spare time, he loved playing golf. He was an active member of Saltillo First United Methodist Church. Keith was so much to so many: husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, teacher, coach, principal, mentor, and friend. Always looking out for others, he was a champion for the underdog and quick to offer help to anyone in need. Due to Covid concerns, a public graveside service will be 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at New Salem Methodist Church Cemetery with Rev. Tim Green officiating. A private viewing will be held before the public graveside service. Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Cathy Steele; daughters: Meisha (Bert) Sparks and Leah (Michael) Wilson all of Saltillo; granddaughters: Emma Cate Sparks, BreAnne Sparks; grandsons: Jacob Crump, Hayes Wilson, Harris Wilson; brother, Kevin Steele of Lafayette, TN; sister-in-law, Marciadeen Steele of Fulton; nephew, Kory Steele of Fulton; nieces: Laura Leigh (Jen) Fowlkes of Tupelo and Lisa Kay (Sonny) Johnson of Madison, AL. Preceded in death by his parents and brother, Butch Steele. Pallbearers will be Jacob Crump, Kory Steele, Bert Sparks, Michael Wilson, Caleb Timmons, and Carson Cole. In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the American Cancer Society at PO Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123 or at www.cancer.org.