Emily S. Steele
April 23, 1939 – September 25, 2020
Emily S. Steele passed peacefully on September 25, 2020. She was born April 23, 1939 in Springfield Missouri, the first of twins. Her love for the arts started as a child living in Plainfield, New Hampshire where she met JD Salinger and Maxfield Parrish. Early on she studied violin attending the Mannes Conservatory in NYC, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. After graduating from Oberlin College, she taught Russian History in high school and then worked at the international center at MIT. While living in Boston, she met Robert Steele with whom she began their life adventure together with a formative two years in Taiwan.
They returned to Boston, beginning a family while Bob completed his medical training. During this time, she found a new passion that would continue throughout her life: stain glass. In 1971, the family of 5 moved to Corvallis, Oregon where she would raise her children and grow her art career of over 20 years. She exhibited in over 30 shows across the country, with many one woman shows in LA, Portland, and Corvallis. She showed at the National Glass Exhibition in 1981 and International Glass World's fair in 1982. She was featured in several national art publications as she passionately pioneered a new medium in colored glass, steel, and solder. "Most people look through stain glass; Emily Steele stood it up and built with it," Barbara Curtin. Her works reside in collections across the United States and the Pacific Rim. Locally, she created the windows for the chapel at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and the Allison room at the First Presbyterian Church.
Her art career was intertwined with her career as a wife and mother of three. She brought beauty and design to everything she created and every place she visited. Teaching those around her to see beyond the frame and into the light. She instilled in all her children the importance of family, being present for your children and their dreams.
She was dedicated to the Arts locally, speaking at the Oregon legislative forum for funding for the arts. She volunteered at the Art Center for several decades, serving 9 years on the Board and 18 years on the exhibitions committee. With Bob they endowed an exhibitions fund to support bringing fine art to be seen locally; and a collection of her works to inspire more artists. In 2010 she was honored by the Benton County Cultural Coalition with their "Lifetime Contribution to Art," and received the honor of Corvallis's "Patron of the Arts," in 2013.
She is survived by her children Ed (Amy); Tom (Kelli); Linda (Christian); her grandchildren: John, Grace, Savannah, Brian, Henry, Jayden, Christian, Lily, Colton, and Logan; and many loving extended family and friends. Special thanks to the staff at Regent Court Senior Living for the amazing and loving care they provided to Emily ensuring her comfort and creativity during her twilight years. Due to the current isolation requirements a funeral service will be held at a future date yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, in these challenging times give to those who move your heart the most in her honor.
McHenry Funeral Home assisted with arrangements. Please leave your condolence messages for the family at www.mchenryfuneralhome.com.