With much sadness, the family of Rebecca Steele announces her passing on 11/15/2022 at The Vineyard, in Texas Corners, Kalamazoo, MI. Rebecca was diagnosed with glioblastoma in May 2021, which she fought diligently since. During this time, she took the opportunity to draft some of her own obituary:
“How could I pass up the opportunity to have the last word AND have my final say-so published and recorded for all time?
I stepped away from my body on November 15th, 2022.
My ascent to find my way home began officially at age five when George Fernham and I climbed the old Hartford water tower behind our house. We made it to above the treetops-maybe five or six stories up, before Lyle Boothby spotted us and our parents called us down to safety and then blistered our butts. What followed were decades where I spent time as a daughter, sister, student, park supervisor, educator, wife, mother, grandmother, entrepreneur, philanthropist, tutor, visitor to the sick, and citizen of the Universe.
Along the way I loved people, animals, reading, dancing, and things that go fast and high, motorcycles, planes, cars, and rollercoasters. I believe my purpose has been to serve and to love and to help make the world a better place.
Though along the way I’ve felt a sort of longing or homesickness for the place from whence I came prior to my time on earth, my life has been a long and grand adventure. My hope is to find myself lovingly embraced in the arms of God.”
Rebecca was born in a January snowstorm in 1951, in Watervliet, Michigan to Marion (Kling) Davis and Dr. Roy Davis. She was blessed with a large loving family, including many cousins, with whom she maintained close relationships throughout her lifetime. Growing up she attended primary schools in both Hartford, Michigan and Branford, Connecticut, and thereafter graduated from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in 1969. Rebecca first attended Michigan State University, and later earned her bachelor’s degree in Education from Western Michigan University. Afterward she pursued a career teaching English at Paw Paw High School beginning in 1973 (before her official college graduation), completed her Masters degree in 1980, and retired in 2005 after thirty-two years of service. Rebecca married Dale Drake in 1971 and was blessed with her daughter Danielle in 1979. In 1992, she married Jim Steele, with whom she recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Rebecca had a life-long love for most all genres of music, which she incorporated into her teaching as an effective means to find common ground to connect with her students through rock poetry, to motivate them to write. As an avid Doors fan, she sought out and was able to attend two different Doors concerts during their reunion tour in 2002 (and following a hunch - introduced herself to an unknown person in the crowd she believed resembled Mrs. Ray Manzarek, and got her program signed by the entire band). Her favorite past-time was any and all books by her favorite authors (especially Stephen King). For an encore career, she founded Sinsational Cookie in 2006, where she and her team delighted customers with magnificent cookie gifts around Kalamazoo, across North America, Western Europe, and the Middle East. Rebecca was a talented chef and shared her love extensively over the decades by welcoming numerous family and friends into her home each holiday season for meals and togetherness. Rebecca had an immense gift for empowering people and boosting their self-esteem, which she leveraged over many years by helping numerous friends and family to write impactful cover letters to win employment opportunities they strived to obtain!
Most importantly, Rebecca will be remembered for her strength and eternal optimism. No matter how negative a scenario she had to endure, afterward she would find and take away something positive from the experience. She was known for joke telling and always willing to laugh at herself if it meant she could bring smiles to those around her!
Rebecca was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Deborah Connor and her brother Robert Davis. She is survived by her daughter Danielle and son-in-law Michael Aschenbrener, grandson Maxwell Aschenbrener, and granddaughter Valentina Aschenbrener of Denver, Colorado, her spouse Jim Steele of Kalamazoo, her sister Laurel Jelenek of Lansing, and a great number of loving relatives and friends. The family is especially appreciative of the meals, love, and care provided by friends, family, Hospice, and The Vineyard teams for Rebecca during her final days.
Family and friends are invited to gather on Monday, November 21, 2022 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Adams Funeral Home, 502 W. Michigan Ave., Paw Paw. A memorial service will immediately follow. Memorial contributions may be directed to the American Cancer Society.
American Cancer Society
1400 West Milham Road, Portage MI 49024