William Ballantyne "Bill" STEELE

William "Bill" Ballantyne Steele lost his brave battle with cancer, slipping away with family members at his side, on November 21, 2012. Bill was born on September 2, 1927 to Jack Steele and Maude Ballantyne Steele of Marshall, California. Bill and his older brother David grew up in Marshall where the family raised sheep, dairy cattle, and grain crops. As a teen he worked on the family ranch and set crab pots with a local fisherman in Tomales. Bill graduated from Tomales High School, where he played football, baseball, and basketball. Bill joined the Navy in 1945, and shipped out of San Diego to the Philippines, Japan and Hawaii after World War II. After the Navy, Bill attended Marin JC and Santa Rosa JC and for a short time, played AA baseball. After college, he joined the telephone company, where he worked until he retired in 1982. Bill was married to Barbara Jean Penfield on Sept. 3, 1948, and together they had four children. They moved to follow his work with the phone company and ultimately settled in Napa in 1965. Throughout their married life, Bill and Barbara enjoyed their summers at Lake Pillsbury and their many travels around the world. As an adult, Bill stayed fit through tennis, water skiing, and hiking. After early retirement, Bill and a friend ran a small business installing Satellite dishes. Later on he was a Lifeline volunteer for the Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa for many years. Throughout his life his passion for sports, as an athlete and a spectator, never diminished. Bill was preceded in death by his wife Barbara, son Scott Steele, and daughter Cynthia Steele. He is survived by his daughter Kate Gomes (Curt), son Nick Steele (Diana), granddaughter Bethany Gomes, numerous nieces and nephews and many, many friends. There will be a "Celebration of Life" memorial at a later date. It was Bill's wish that any memorial be a private family gathering. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice of Napa Valley, who supported Bill during his illness.

Published Online in the Press Democrat from Nov. 25 to Nov. 29, 2012