Leta Steele

July 10, 1936 - November 30, 2022

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Mrs. Leta Louise Parrish Steele of Texarkana, Texas – loving wife, nurturing mother and doting Mammaw passed away peacefully in her sleep at The Retreat at Kenwood in Texarkana, TX on Wednesday, November 30, 2022.

Leta was born in Sweetwater, Oklahoma to Rita and Roy Parrish. She was the second of three children and grew up in a home which instilled in her the values of Love, the Christian Faith and Family. Leta carried on this tradition by demonstrating these values throughout her life. She shared a special bond with her sister Berniece (Niecey) who remained her best friend until Niecey’s death.
Leta never met a stranger and her gift of gab often got her in trouble in class. In high school, she was a popular cheerleader and homecoming queen, having many suitors. She graduated from Edmond High School engaged to one of her sister’s dates. John Steele knew a good thing when he saw it, and asked her to marry him after only three months of dating. John and Leta were married for 68 years, only separated by his death in May of 2022.

Just before John left for his tour of duty in Korea, his daughter Sandra was born. Leta lived with landlords Leo and Doris Richards, lifelong friends, while John was away. When John returned, the family moved to Daisy, Arkansas for John’s work as a forester at Dierks Lumber Company. There, the family grew with the births of Kenny and Clay. The family then moved to Winthrop, Arkansas where she was involved with activities in Foreman Schools. A job change brought them to Mena, Arkansas for six years. While in Mena, Leta was active with cheerleading and baseball activities for her children. Their last move was to Texarkana, TX in 1973. Shortly after this move, Leta began work as a secretary for Redwater Schools where she worked for 22 years. As the school secretary, Leta was a positive influence on many students and was well-loved in return. She also developed strong friendships with several co-workers there, which lasted a lifetime. Leta was an active member of Red Springs Baptist Church, working with the Awana Ministry and volunteering in the kitchen for various events. When she was needed, Leta was always there, be it in prayers, financially or in person.

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Leta was happiest when surrounded by her family. She loved having them all together under her roof, thriving on the chaos that came with family gatherings. She was very proud of her children and grandchildren and never missed an opportunity to talk about them. She had a special bond with her grandchildren and remained close to them as they grew up and into adulthood. She loved cooking for family and friends and also enjoyed doll-making, and embroidering gifts.
After her retirement, Leta enjoyed traveling with John, and especially enjoyed the Dierks Forester Employee Reunions. She was John’s devoted caregiver throughout his long battle with dementia until they both moved into assisted living in 2021.

Leta’s unwavering devotion to her family and friends will be keenly missed. Her family takes comfort in knowing she is now reunited in heaven with her beloved husband John.
Leta is survived by her three children, Sandra Steele Rice and husband Jonathan; Kenneth Steele and wife Sheryl and Clay Steele. She is also survived by granddaughters Arielle Rice Gigliotti and husband Anthony; Ellion Rice Maggard and husband Chance; Doriane Steele Cavanaugh and husband Matt and Adriane Carey Steele along with grandsons Justin Steele and wife Cori and Lee Jones. Her great-grandchildren include Carter Steele Cavanaugh and Isla Grace Gigliotti. She is also survived by nieces Barbara Swanson, Patty Martin, Jeanne Steele, Karen Bryant and Mary Jayne Stephenson; nephews Mike, Bob and Jim Wuerth, Jerry Steele and Mike Webb.

Leta is preceded in death by her husband, John C. Steele, mother and father Rita and Roy Parrish, daughter-in-law Dorie Steele, sister Phyllis Parrish, sister and brother-in-law Berniece and Bill Barton, sister-in-law Edwina Steele, sister-and-brother-in-law Jane and Walter Wuerth, brother-in-law Loren Steele and sister-in-law Leatha Steele.
Family and Friends are invited to join the family for a memorial service celebrating Leta’s life Monday, Dec 26th at 1:00 pm, at Highland Park Baptist Church, 1000 South Bishop Street, Texarkana, TX 75501.
Condolences may be offered at https://www.texarkanafuneralhome.com/obits

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