Oct. 5, 1935 – July 14, 2016
Laurence G. Steele, of Williamsville, a retired company owner who successfully applied his business skills to volunteer work in Niagara Falls, died last Thursday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a battle with cancer. He was 80.
Born in Niagara Falls, he was a 1953 graduate of DeVeaux School and earned a bachelor’s degree in history and the classics from Bucknell University in 1957.
He took graduate courses at Columbia University and served in the Army Reserve.
Mr. Steele joined the family business, Steele Electric Equipment Inc., an industrial electrical parts wholesaler, in 1960 and became president of the company in 1977.
He sold the business to Wehle Electric Co. in 1991 and continued with the company as an executive consultant and marketing manager for 10 years.
He was a past president of the Niagara Falls Rotary Club and served for 41 years as a board member of the Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club. He was a director of Niagara County Savings Bank and a senior member of the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce.
A board member of the Friends of the Local History Department at the Niagara Falls Public Library, he helped establish and managed the library gift shop at the Main Street branch.
Invited to serve as administrator for Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls, he placed it on firm financial footing, raised funds for repairs and upgrades, oversaw restoration work and helped earn a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
He recently helped create a foundation to support future improvements at the cemetery.
For his volunteer work, he was presented with a key to the city in 2013 by Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Carol J. Christ; two daughters, Pamela Steele-Unger and Nanci Massey; a son, Doug; and seven grandchildren.
A memorial service will be arranged.