Barry Lawson Steele, 76

Barry Lawson Steele, 76, passed away at the Mary Campbell Center in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 21, 2019. He was born Dec. 5, 1942, son of the late Earl M. Steele and Mildred C. (Lawson) Steele of Georgetown, Del.

In spite of physical limitations due to cerebral palsy, his parents assured that he was active in boating, traveling, amateur radio, bowling, Special Olympics and family events. As a young adult, Steele spent a short time at Governor Bacon and Stockley Center.

Following his father’s untimely death in 1974, Steele’s mother had the foresight to explore options for his future care at the event of her passing. The Mary Campbell Center was an option for residential care, and he became a resident in 1979. The many years following were filled with superb care, fun opportunities and cherished relationships with staff and residents.

One of his many tasks was to look for and report burned out light bulbs within the facility. Many staff members remember him as a prankster, playing jokes on them, ending in fun laughter. He especially valued the friendship he shared with Dorothy Hoilman and her family, who included him in outings and family activities.

Steele attended services at Bethel Baptist Church, as well as Wednesday Bible studies. He was routinely visited by his mother and her sister, his Aunt Marie Greene, who brought many homemade meals that he anxiously devoured.

Upon his mother’s death in 1995, Steele’s affairs were lovingly managed by his cousin, Catherine King. She kept him apprised of family happenings and arranged Christmas visits at her home in Sussex County every year, giving other family and friends a chance to visit. Other than routine visits, the cousins spoke every Friday at 2 p.m., always affectionately ending the conversation with, “I love you, Mrs. King” and “I love you, Mr. Steele.” They maintained a very close relationship until her death in 2015. King’s family has continued to maintain close contact with Steele and to oversee his care.

Steele was also preceded in death by his special aunt, Marie Greene, and his mother’s sisters Mollie Johnson and Ethel Davis. He is survived by three cousins, Louise Dorey, Jane Lynn Wilkins and Joan Justice, and several great-cousins.

A celebration of Steele’s life will take place on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, at 2p.m. at The Mary Campbell Center, 4641 Weldin Road, Wilmington, Del. A graveside service was to be held Nov. 24 at Millsboro (Del.) Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requested memorial donations to The Mary Campbell Center at the above address (or www.marycampbellcenter.org).