Durango resident David William Steele died after a two-year struggle with throat cancer Friday, May 18, 2012, in Durango. He was 66.
Known as “Dave,” he was born to Dorothy Davies and Harry Steele on Sept. 6, 1945, in Denver. He moved to California as a young boy and grew up in West Covina, where he attended Saint Christopher Elementary and West Covina High schools. He was on the varsity tennis team and an “A” student, his family said.
Mr. Steele had a passion for surfing and was once swept out to sea on his surfboard when he was 17, surviving a night before being rescued by a fishing boat.
He went to college in Boulder before graduating with a degree in business from Long Beach State in California.
“Dave always loved to work with his hands as well as his mind, and he could build or fix anything,” his family said.
He worked on old cars as a teenager and later built a successful construction company in Sonora, Calif., called Steele Construction.
After moving to Santa Cruz because of his love of the ocean, Mr. Steele decided to change careers and studied computer programming, working for the University of California at Santa Cruz for 12 years.
He continued building homes in the Santa Cruz area, as well. While in Santa Cruz, he met Linda Michael. On Oct. 7, 2001, the couple married in Attos, Calif.
The Steeles moved to Durango three years ago.
“Dave enjoyed music immensely, especially blues and bluegrass, and taught himself to play the guitar and slide guitar,” his family said. ”Playing wicked and tasty slide guitar, he was co-lead guitarist for the locally revered band, the Ded Wailers. Dave also took much pleasure in traveling, visiting Costa Rica, several destinations in the U.S., two trips on the famous Blues Cruise in the Caribbean and numerous trips to the Steeles’ second home in Sayulita, Mexico.”
Mr. Steele enjoyed beach volleyball, and, for nearly 20 years, he was on the beach every Saturday morning to play. His volleyball friends became, and remain, a close-knit family of friends, his family said. He also enjoyed mountain biking, hiking, tennis and visiting longtime friends.
Mr. Steele is survived by his wife and companion of 12 years, Linda Nelson Steele, of Durango; stepchildren Kelsey Eiriksson of Portola, Calif., Timothy Michael, stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., and Heather Moffatt of Pulaski, Tenn.; sisters Joan Steele Johnson of Berkeley, Calif., Sally Steele Roubison of Calimesa, Calif., and Kim Steele of Richmond, Calif.; four nieces and nephews; and extended family members.
Cremation has occurred. A private family service will be held Saturday, June 2, 2012, in Santa Cruz.