L. Pat Steele

Photo of L. Pat  Steele
Dr. L. Pat Steele, age 79, of Fort Smith passed away Friday, March 16, 2012, in Fort Smith. He was born April 14, 1932, in Springdale, Ark. He was the son of Tom and Vivian Steele. He attended Goddard United Methodist Church in Fort Smith. Pat graduated from Fayetteville High School in 1951, where he lettered in football, basketball and track. He served in the Korean War as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy. His ship, USS Walke (DD-723), was part of Task Force 77 and was torpedoed during the war. In 1957 he received a BA degree in political science and economics from the University of Arkansas. Pat played football for the Razorbacks and stayed an avid fan his whole life following his beloved team to playoffs and bowl games. He earned an MA degree in education from Drury College in Springfield, Mo., in 1966. In 1982, he completed a Doctorate of Education at his beloved University of Arkansas. Pat had a long career in education, serving students in Arkansas, Missouri and California. He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa. Pat was a teacher, coach, dean of students, activities director, vice principal, principal, superintendent, and college instructor. He taught Western Civilization and geography at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. After retiring, he substituted for the Fort Smith school system. He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Maxine Bennett Steele. He is survived by his wife Betty Lou Steele, and his children, Katie Burnham, Alisa Steele, Julie Blackwood, Tom Steele, Mike Steele, Cynthia Steele and his step-children, Bill Henson, Paul Henson and Anne Henson. Pat had 16 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He is also survived by five brothers, Bill Steele of Lake Village, Ark., Lloid Brewer, Fred Brewer, Harold Brewer, David Brewer; and seven sisters, Marie Brewer Brooks of Texas, Alene Brewer Yates, Jean Brewer Huddleston, Lou Brewer Hites, Sue Brewer Guanett, Bonda Brewer Riggida, and Wanda Brewer Sharp. Visitation will be 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Monday at Nelson-Berna Funeral Home in Fayetteville. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in the Wesley Chapel at Central United Methodist Church, 6 W. Dickson St., in Fayetteville under the direction of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to Sebastian County Humane Society, 3800 Kelley Highway, Fort Smith, AR 72904 or Goddard United Methodist Church, 1922 Dodson Ave., Fort Smith, AR 72901. To place an online tribute, visit

Published March 19, 2012