1948 - 2017
{ "" }
Share PETER's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
STEELE, Peter C. Peter C. Steele, a 39 year resident of the Boston area, died on May 24, 2017, from pancreatic cancer. He was 69 years old. Peter was a 43 year career employee of the National Park Service which he began after graduating from Yale College in 1970 and obtaining a master's degree in History Museum Studies at Cooperstown, NY. In 1990 under the direction of Superintendent John Burchill, and supported by many people and organizations, Peter oversaw the restoration of many national sites and monuments along the Freedom Trail such as Faneuil Hall, Bunker Hill Monument, and the Old State House. Peter provided expert knowledge for the restoration of the African Meeting House, the oldest standing Black church in America and the Abiel Smith School, the 1st public school for African American children in Boston, both projects funded by Boston's Black community. Earlier, as Curator of the Boston National Historical Park, Peter acquired a WWII destroyer from the Navy and brought her up from Philadelphia to Boston. Peter then obtained the equipment necessary for her restoration. She now complements the USS Constitution, showing the importance of the Boston Naval Shipyard in 20th century America. Peter managed Alternative Transportation in the Northeast region of The National Park Service. He oversaw the construction and improvement of pedestrian and bicycle trails, shuttle buses, trollies, and ferries that exemplify forward looking public transit encouraging visitors to leave their cars behind during their park visits. Before moving to Boston, he worked at Federal Hall in New York City and Sagamore Hill (Theodore Roosevelt's home) on Long Island.

Peter was born on February 25,1948, in Washington, DC, son of Jack and Barbara Steele. He grew up spending summers on the coast of Maine. There he developed a life-long love of nature and America's National Parks, a devotion exceeded only by his love for his wife, Margaret Micholet and their children, Matthew and Catherine. His work with the Park Service and his church membership helped him achieve personal goals to better life in America by enhancing awareness of the nation's history and culture, protecting the natural environment and people's enjoyment of it, and promoting peace, tolerance and respect for the lives of others. In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by a brother, Jeffrey, and his wife, Barbara of Bethesda, Maryland, two sisters-in-law and many nephews and nieces. A memorial service will be held at Follen Community Church on June 2nd at 2:00 o'clock. I lieu of flowers, in support of Syrian refugees, memorial contributions may be made to "Refugee Crisis." Lexington 781-862-1800

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Boston Globe from May 26 to Jun. 1, 2017.
Memorial service
02:00 PM
Follen Community Church
Funeral services provided by
Order by phone: (866) 764-7853
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
16 entries
May 20, 2020
I have not forgotten Peter♥. Peace to all.
Chip Littlefield
May 23, 2018
Margaret, Matthew, and Catherine...Chip and Laurie Littlefield remember your husband and father on this day. He was very special to us when we worked with him in the 80s. Peace.
Chip Littlefield
June 6, 2017
Deborah and I lived two doors away from Margaret and Peter Steele in the Charlestown Navy Yard for the five and a half years that we were stationed there in the National Park Service. My office was very close to Peter's in the Marine Barracks. Peter was a top quality professional who diligently applied his considerable expertise to the restoration of the many centuries old historic structures in Boston National Historical Park. He was instrumental in getting the Louisbourg Cross returned to its rightful place at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park on Cape Breton Island, Canada. Peter was a very good man and is sorely missed.
John Benjamin
June 5, 2017
To Peter's Friends and Family;
I was privileged to work with Peter and the National Park Service Transportation Program while working for the Intermountain Regional Office for many years. I appreciated Peter's dedication, knowledge and enthusiasm for providing park visitors with alternative methods to reach park sites. He was kind and a pleasure to work with. It is with a heavy heart that I offer my sincere condolences on his passing.
Jayne Schaeffer
June 2, 2017
Dear Margaret, Matthew and Catherine,
I met Peter only twice. . .a dinner years ago and a two day visit to your home. What a special human being he was. I can only imagine the loss you are feeling, but I send you my condolences and love as you prepare to move on without him.
Kathy Peres
May 31, 2017
My sincerest condolences to Peter's family and friends; it was my pleasure to work with Peter while he was the alternative transportation lead - he was always so genuinely interested in our projects at Steamtown NHS.
Patty Stiner
May 30, 2017
My sincerest Condolences. It has been a privilege working with Peter. Iris Barreto
Iris Barreto
May 30, 2017
Dear Margaret, Matthew and Catherine:

I had the pleasure of working with Peter over the last several years. Most recently, in the NPS Regional Office in Boston in 2015. I was new to my position and Peter took great care to make sure I understood the Alternative Transportation Program that he managed. His passion and commitment for his work was incredible. To help me, at his insistence, though he was not well, he arranged and attended a meeting a few days after he had officially retired. He was a true professional and I will be forever grateful that I had opportunity to get to know him.

I send my heartfelt sympathy to you. Please take care of each other during this difficult time.

Mark Alexander
Mark Alexander
May 30, 2017
May 30, 2017

Dearest Margaret and family,

I met Peter when you were both living at the Navy yard. I enjoyed meeting Peter and know he will be sorely missed by your family and friends.

Take Care Margaret,

Frank Studinski

Lubec, Maine
May 30, 2017
I met Peter briefly in Denver during his Alternative Transportation duties. I was touched by his wisdom - and his beautiful smile and eyes.

I wish his friends and family moments of peace during the chaos of these days.
Jenny Stroska
May 30, 2017
I first met Peter Steele on my first day at the Charlestown Navy Yard in March 1980. Just coming on board in the Historical Architect's office, I was taken around the yard by John Stepanian, our survey technician/draftsman. One of our stops was Building 125, where I was introduced to Peter as the park's curator. He welcomed me to the park. Little could either of us know how our careers would continually intersect over the next three decades.
By that time, Peter had already made a major contribution to the park in arranging for the loan of the destroyer CASSIN YOUNG from the Navy. He, along with his staff, had already scoured the largely abandoned Navy Yard to collect thousands of photographs, drawings, records, and artifacts which form the basis of the park's superb museum collection.
Peter's contributions to the park are second to none. As curator, he championed an active program of temporary exhibits, both traveling national exhibits and locally produced shows such as the annual Charlestown Preservation Society art show. Perhaps the two most significant locally produced exhibits were the 1993 celebration of the 40th anniversary of the launch of CASSIN YOUNG and the 1995 Siege of Louisburg exhibit. He was also instrumental in developing the original permanent Navy Yard exhibit in Building 125.
With the departure of Assistant Superintendent John Debo for Cuyahoga Valley, Superintendent John Burchill tapped Peter to step up into the role of supervising the park's active development program. This led to his being officially named Assistant Superintendent in 1991. As the park's preservation specialist, I worked closely with Peter on the restoration of Faneuil Hall and the Old State House, the USS Constitution Museum expansion, the restoration of the Old South Meeting House, the rehabilitation of Dorchester Heights, and the repaving of the Charlestown Navy Yard. During this period, Peter also played a major role in the development of the Freedom Trail plan, leading to the revival of the Freedom Trail Foundation.
With the retirement of John Burchill in early 2000, Peter stepped up as Acting Superintendent, filling the post until the arrival of Terry Savage. Two years later, he took his talents to the Northeast Regional Office, working for Bob Holzheimer in the line item and transporation programs.
In addition to our professional associations, I fondly recall the numerous occasions when Peter, Margaret Micholet, Peggy Beitel, Paul Weinbaum, Debbie Szarka, and I would go to lunch at the Papa Gino's at Thompson Square.
My last meeting with Peter took place last December when he came to the yard to make a visit to CASSIN YOUNG. He gave no evidence of the disease which would ultimately take his life, but enthusiastically asked about the park and expressed his willingness to participate in an oral history interview for the administrative history currently underway. It is our great loss that this could not be arranged so that his recollections and insights into the park before his passing.
My deepest sympathy to his wife Margaret and children Matthew and Catherine.
Steve Carlson
May 29, 2017
Chip and Laurie (Stein) Littlefield
I was new to Boston, Boston National Historical Park, and the National Park Service in 1985 when I met Peter and Margaret. I found urban rangering challenging but staff like Peter soon changed that. Peter's wisdom, passion, and mentoring was one of the foundations of my now 32 year career with the NPS. I remember chatting in his office in the early morning and admiring his earthy blue coffee mug from Rackcliff Pottery in Maine. He always looked satisfied in his crisply pressed suit, his mug from Maine, and his broad, always present smile. I was fortunate to have shared the mission of the park service with Peter and Margaret. May peace and comfort soon find Margaret, Matthew, and Catherine.
Chip Littlefield
May 29, 2017
Dear Margaret and family,
Dave and I are very sad to hear about Peter. Through the years of our NPS career in the Boston area, we both got to know Peter very well. Dave knew him through his curatorial work. I later had the privilege to work with Peter at Boston NHP. He was always supportive of the interpretation division where I worked. I admired his love of preservation and his belief in getting the community involved. He was not only a colleague, but a friend.
Dave Kayser and Sheila Cooke-Kayser
May 28, 2017
I am so sorry to hear about Peter. I had the honor of working with him in the early 90s when I was in the Protection Division. I'm not sure that he quite knew what to think about me but we did have some funny conversations.

It is kind of funny though.. I was just telling someone about him a couple of days ago.

Please accept my sincere condolences and know that I am sending y'all good thoughts.
Bill Young
May 28, 2017
Margaret, Cat and Matthew,
I am so sorry to hear about Peter's passing. Peter opened many doors for me and I am grateful for all His guidance, enthusiasm and passion for the USS Cassin Young. I can honestly say we became good friends as soon as Cassin Young arrived in Boston.
Over the years His vision was something that the Volunteer Crew continues to strive for everyday. What a legacy Peter has left with the crew. It was honor to be a small part of Peter's life as he was such a big part of mine.
Rest in peace my friend,
Steve Briand
May 27, 2017
Very sorry- Vincent and Jamie Kordack
Jamie Kordack
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences