Sources at the D.W. Swick-Nelson Funeral Home in New Boston have confirmed they are in charge of arrangements for New Boston Village Councilman Johnnie Steele. Steele, 64, died Wednesday at his home.
“Shocked,” Village Councilman Dan Fetty said. “Johnnie was a New Boston resident, born and raised right here, serving his community, serving on Council. He was very dedicated to his family. He spent some time with his aunt in Florida after his uncle passed away, helping her with her wrap-up of her finances and things like that.”
New Boston Councilman Mike Payton also remembers Steele’s dedication to his community.
“I think he would do anything for anybody,” Payton said. “We knew Johnnie for a long time. I always thought, as far as the Council part goes, I think he had the community’s best interest at heart. He didn’t hesitate to take somebody to task if they didn’t answer a question the way he wanted. He had no hesitancy to dig deeper into something.”
Steele joined Village Council in 2016 and was serving as chairman of the Flood, Sewage and Service Committee. He is a 1970 graduate of Glenwood High School where he was instrumental in organizing and serving on the first Student Council.
“The people that voted for him got their money’s worth,” Payton said. “Johnnie didn’t back off. I liked him. He and I had our rounds – there’s no question we did – but that’s not all bad. I don’t think Johnnie held grudges. If he did, I didn’t know it. He never held any with me.”
Following graduation, Steele served in the United States Army. After completing his military service, Steele attended The Ohio State University, acquiring an Associate Degree in Business/Business Law/Management. He then began a period of employment with the Village of New Boston. During the three years he worked various positions within the village from operation of the sewage plant to other service oriented positions.
Steele ventured into the business world opening his first business in New Boston with Nationwide Insurance. Since opening that first business, he has owned over 9 corporations in Florida, New Jersey, Cleveland and the local area.
Steele had one son, Ryan a graduate of Clay High School, and one grandson, Parker who graduated from Glenwood High School. He was best-known for his involvement in the auction industry.
“My brother Terry and I go to a lot of auctions,” Payton said. ‘He used to run the auction up in Wheelersburg for a while on Saturday nights, and we used to go up there all the time and he was always a lot of fun.”
Fetty summed up Steele’s role in village business.
“He was gung ho about serving his community,” Fetty said.
Funeral arrangements are pending at the D.W. Swick-Nelson Funeral Home in New Boston.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.