Harold R. "Shorty" Steele, 86, Martinsburg, went home to be with his Lord and Precious Savior late Thursday afternoon at Altoona Regional after a lengthy illness.
He was born in Martinsburg, son of the late Chester C. and H. Margaret (Russell) Steele. He married M. Joan Kensinger on Aug. 9, 1947, in Cumberland, Md.
Surviving are his beloved wife of 63 years; a son, Russell E. of rural Roaring Spring; a daughter, Sherry S. Roth and husband, Glenn, of Port Matilda; six grandchildren: Michael (Terza) Steele, Amanda (Greg) Gildea and Caroline Matthews, all of Hollidaysburg, Adam (Stacy) Steele of Altoona, Dr. Benjamin (Dr. Prerana) Roth of Chicago, Ill., and Katherine Roth of Houston, Texas; four great-grandchildren: Carter Steele, Connor Burns, Jack Gildea and Bravin Matthews; a sister, Joyce McDonald and husband, John, of Devine, Texas; and many nephews and nieces, including locally Cindy Hoover and husband, Daniel, of Roaring Spring.
He was preceded in death by two sisters: infant Arlene and Jayne Yingling.
Shorty was a 1943 graduate of Morrison Cove High School, Martinsburg. He was a U.S. Navy veteran of WWII, serving from 1944-46 with Naval Intelligence under the Joint Communications Act Navy 926. He then served during the Korean War with the Underway Fleet Training Unit in Norfolk, Va., attaining the rank of yeoman second class.
He retired as a dairy farmer in Taylor Township but, while farming, was also employed as a sales representative for Curtiss Breeding Service and prior to that as district manager for American Breeders Service. Recently, he was a school bus driver for the Northern Bedford County School District and then the Spring Cove School District, retiring in 2007 after 20 years of service. He was also employed as a real estate agent for both Century 21, Altoona, and Stover Real Estate Agency, Roaring Spring.
Shorty was a lifelong member of St. John's United Church of Christ, Martinsburg, where he had served as deacon, elder and president of Consistory for several terms. He was a member of Woodbury Lodge 539, F&AM, Roaring Spring, Altoona Consistory and Jaffa Shrine and was a member and past president of the Cove Area Shrine Club. He was also a member of Murray-Appleman American Legion Post, Roaring Spring, and D. Merle Tipton VFW Post, Martinsburg, where he held various offices including commander, chaplain, quartermaster and aide-de-camp. He was formerly elected as VFW 22nd District Commander of the Central Pennsylvania District, and in 2011, he was honored as a Bronze Legacy Life Member of the VFW.
He was also a former member and past president of Blair County Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Morrisons Cove Dairy Show, Interstate Co-op District 20 and Martinsburg Boosters Association. He served on the board of directors of Showalter Apartments, Martinsburg, for 12 years.
Shorty enjoyed hunting, bowling and reading, especially his Bible and westerns.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 2012, at St. John's United Church of Christ, Martinsburg, where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 23, 2012, Pastor Mary J. Hendricks officiating. Interment with full military honors accorded by the Blair County Veterans Honor Guard will follow at Fairview Cemetery, Martinsburg.
The family suggests that memorial contributions be given to St. John's United Church of Christ, American Kidney Foundation or the local charity of your choice.
Arrangements are by John C. Bolger Funeral Home Inc., Martinsburg.