Norman L. Steele, 74

CUMBERLAND — Norman L. Steele, 74, passed away quietly on Saturday, June 1, 2013 with his loving family by his side, after a brief battle with cancer.

He was born in Cumberland on June 8, 1938, the son of Jennie G. Steele and Millard Steele. He grew up in Cumberland and lived there until he moved to Dorchester, Mass. for his senior year of high school. Norman graduated from Dorchester High School early, immediately joining the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. He served for over 30 years combined active and reserve service, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer (W4), specializing in marine engineering.

Norman worked for several years as the shop foreman at W.J. Connell Diesel Fuel Injection Service, before moving to General Electric Co. Heat Transfer Products in South Portland. During his 15 years there, he held a number of management positions including, production control specialist, production foreman, buyer, product planner, and numerical control computer programmer. When GE moved away, Norman went to work at Bath Iron Works as a project engineer and senior production analyst in Aegis Shipbuilding Program Management for 13 years.

He was a passionate gardener and a 25-year Master Gardener volunteer for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. He focused on helping the less fortunate by donating 12,000 pounds of fresh produce from his gardens to local food pantries and soup kitchens. Norman also participated in many gleanings at local farms and apple orchards over the years. In 2005, he was selected in a national competition as the Scotts Lawn and Garden Products company’s “Good Neighbor Gardener of the Year.” This was followed by a “Governor’s Service Award” from Maine Governor Baldacci in 2006.

Norman was previously a two-time cancer survivor and volunteered at the Cancer Community Center as a “Buddy” in the center’s cancer patient peer support program. He also helped establish a Meditation Garden at the center.

Norman’s smile, generosity, love and care for family and friends will be missed. Norman was a 39-year member of the Casco Lodge #36 AF&AM in Yarmouth. He enjoyed working in the kitchen at their monthly bean suppers. He was a life member of the Military Officers Association of America and the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Norman is survived by his wife of 55 years, Margery J. Steele; a son, Bruce M. Steele of Raymond; a daughter, Lynell R. Parry of Cumberland; a brother, Raymond C. Steele of Leesburg, Va.; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, 2013 at Lindquist Funeral Home, One Mayberry Lane, Yarmouth. A funeral service with full military honors will be held on Monday, June 10, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. at the Tuttle Road United Methodist Church, 52 Tuttle Road, Cumberland. A reception will follow at the church. Please visit www.lindquistfuneralhome.com to view a video collage of Norman’s life and to share condolences, memories and tributes with his family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Norman to: The Yarmouth Community Garden, c/o Cathy Gavin, 23 Battery Point Lane, Yarmouth, ME 04096 or to The Cancer Community Center, 778 Main Street, South Portland, ME 04106.

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