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William D. Steele Jr., steel plant foreman Aug. 18, 1922 -- Sept. 19, 2005

William D. Steele Jr., who flew fighter planes in World War II and then worked as a foreman for Bethlehem Steel Corp., died Monday in his home in Blasdell after a long illness. He was 83.

The Youngstown, Ohio, native moved to Western New York as a boy and graduated from Blasdell High School in 1941.

He served as a first lieutenant in the Army Air Forces after high school. He flew several dozen missions in P-51 fighter planes over central and eastern Europe during the war.

He began working at Bethlehem Steel in 1945 and served for many years as general foreman in the hot and cold mills and galvanizing. He retired in 1982.

Mr. Steele was a former Blasdell volunteer firefighter and a member of the ambulance crew and police force.

He also was a member of Fraternal Lodge 625, Free & Accepted Masons, Hamburg; Post 897, AMVETS; and Ismailia Shrine Temple, West Seneca.

Mr. Steele, who built his Blasdell home, enjoyed home repair work in his spare time as well as hunting and fishing.

Surviving are his wife of 59 years, Joan M.; four sons,
William of Great Valley, Robert of Blasdell, Ronald of Springville and James of Atlanta; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday in John J. Kaczor Funeral Home, 3450 South Park Ave., Blasdell. Burial will be in Forest Lawn's Oakwood Mausoleum.

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