1930 - 2021
{ "" }
Share CHARLES's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
STEELE CHARLES J. STEELE "Charlie" April 3, 1930 - February 11, 2021 Charles J. Steele "Charlie", 90, died on February 11, 2021 in Kensington, MD. Survivors include his beloved wife of 25 years, Elizabeth (Bette) Mohr of Washington DC; five children, Helen K.S. Wolfe (Gary) of Herndon VA, Charles M. Steele (Barb) of Vienna VA, John J. Steele (Carolyn) of Palo Alto CA, Maura S. Bobinski (Jim) of Torrington CT, and James P. Steele (Heather) of Chevy Chase MD; nine grandchildren (James Steele (Brooke), Kevin Steele (Katharine), Erin Steele, Mike Steele (Kristen), Katie Bobinski (Ryan), Patrick Steele, Megan Bobinski, Annabel Steele, and Peter Steele); and two great granddaughters (Morgan Steele and Aoife Steele). He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 36 years, Helen Carmody Steele, and his brother, John Steele "Jack", Col., USAF (Ret). He was born Charles Morgan Steele Jr. in Chicago IL. He grew up first in Scranton, PA during the Great Depression and later in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ for middle and high school. Upon his Confirmation and for the rest of his life he used his chosen Confirmation name, Joseph, as his middle name. He played baseball; he was a pretty good fielder but couldn't hit fastballs, so he switched to basketball, which became a lifelong passion. He graduated from Saint Peter's Prep High School in Jersey City, NJ in 1948 and entered Georgetown University that fall, the first person in his extended family to attend college. He lived the rest of his life in Washington,DC except for three years in Kensington, MD. At Georgetown he majored in History, won the Hamilton Medal for extemporaneous debate, and was the sports editor for the school newspaper, The Hoya. He played in the first organized basketball game ever held in the newly-built McDonough Gymnasium. He went on to Georgetown Law School (now called Georgetown University Law Center), graduating with a JD in two years, winning the second Beaudry Cup for outstanding appellate advocacy, and adding an LLM in 1956. After graduation he joined the Justice Department's Civil Division but quickly moved to the Bureau of Competition in the Federal Trade Commission, where he would be able to try more cases. When he entered law practice the Bar Association of the District of Columbia - one of the three oldest Bar Associations in the country (with New York City and Boston) - was racially segregated. In 1957 he volunteered for and was selected to serve on the Association's Committee on Civil Rights. The Committee (chaired by Edward Bennett Williams) was a major force in efforts led by member Phineas Indritz to desegregate the Association. After several defeats over the preceding three years, the movement succeeded on October 14, 1958, when the required two-thirds majority of the Association voted to end the segregation. The vote was based on a Committee Report drafted by Indritz and signed by him, Williams, and 17 others, including Charlie. In 1960 he entered private practice with the firm Whiteford, Hart, Carmody & Wilson, moving years later to Pierson Ball & Dowd and finally Foley & Lardner. He was a trial lawyer and practiced health law; for most of his career he specialized in trying health care antitrust cases. He served as a DC Bar Examiner (1972-77) and President of the National Health Lawyers Association (1987-88), and taught health law at George Washington and Catholic University Law Schools (1977-99). In 1982 he nominated his law partner Jacqueline (Jackie) Saue for admission to The Barristers, an association of DC trial lawyers that had never had a woman member. Jackie was admitted and became the first woman to appear in the organization's rolls. (Charlie always said that Jackie was eminently qualified and would have been admitted no matter who nominated her, but that he was happy to have played that role.) He served on the Board of Directors of the Benedictine School in Ridgely MD from 1974-90, and as President from 1982-85. He finished his legal career as an Assistant General Counsel and Trial Lawyer for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (2000-06). Over the years he tried more than 60 cases. After retiring he taught American Government at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School and coached the Debate Teams there and at the Washington Jesuit Academy. He received the Catholic Charities Lawyer of the Year Award in 2008. He coached CYO Basketball for more than 20 years - one of the greatest joys of his life - at St. Michael's (Silver Spring, MD), Blessed Sacrament (Washington, DC) and Holy Trinity (Washington, DC). He was particularly grateful for the help he got from frequent Co-Coach Hugh Beins, his friend and former varsity player at Georgetown. To this day, many of Charlie's former players think of him first as Coach Steele (and they will never get the sound of "When I blow the whistle, put down the ball!" out of their heads). He was recognized as CYO Co-Coach of the Year in 1978. He received only one technical foul in all his years of coaching (for calmly and respectfully pointing out to an apparently delicate referee that the other team had six players on the floor when play resumed after a timeout). In addition to basketball, trying cases, Saint Peter's Prep, and Georgetown University, he loved Bethany Beach DE (where he organized legendary touch football and whiffle ball games on Ocean View Parkway (before it was paved) for his children, nieces and nephews, and their friends), reading (mostly Irish and American history), photography, attending National Symphony Orchestra concerts, and travel, especially to Ireland, which he visited at least 15 times over the years. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Saturday, February 20, 10:30 a.m., at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Washington, DC. Burial will follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Washington, DC. With regret and because of the pandemic, attendance at Mass and Mount Olivet will be limited to immediate family. The Mass can be viewed live and for six months after at The family hopes to be able to hold a celebration of life in the summer or fall, the pandemic permitting. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Saint Peter's Prep High School, 144 Grand Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302. Arrangements by Joseph Gawler's Sons, LLC,

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 17, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
3 entries
February 21, 2021
Charlie was the epitome of generosity and inclusiveness. I'm so grateful to have been a witness to his life and goodness.
Mary Dunnington Mason
February 20, 2021
I have fond memories of Mr. Steele coaching 5th and 6th grade CYO basketball at BS. A very kind a generous man.
Rich Long
February 18, 2021
My condolences to the extended Steele Family. I was an associate at Pierson, Ball & Dowd, and while I rarely worked directly with Charlie (since we were in different practice groups) I always found him to be a lovely gentleman, who was well respected and liked by everyone in the firm. God Bless.
Carol Ann Bischoff
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences