Hugh Steele Eulogy

In memory of
Hugh Henderson Steele
August 15, 1913 – August 18, 1999

presented by
Richard P. Gripe
August 31, 1999

With the death of Hugh Steele the Lafayette community has lost a man of many talents. He gave of his time, talent, and treasure freely to all whom he knew.

Born in Howard, South Dakota, he received bachelor's degrees from the University of Iowa in 1933, and the University of South Dakota in 1935. Rush Medical College awarded him a doctor of medicine degree in 1937. After that he took an internship and residency at the University of Chicago Clinics. He was a resident in gastroenterology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, from 1942 to 1946 when he was invited to join their staff.

Hugh joined the Arnett Clinic staff in 1953 as the first gastroenterologist in Lafayette, and later served as president. He was a, Fellow of the American College of Physicians, served as president of the Tippecanoe County Medical Association and was affiliated with the Indiana and American medical associations. He retired in 1983 and became Medical Director of Plasma Alliance for 13 years.

While in college he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and in medical school of the Phi Chi fraternity.

Hugh joined Lafayette Rotary in 1953, served as president in 1960-61, had twenty-three and one-half years of perfect attendance, was a Paul Harris fellow and supporter of the Lafayette Rotary Foundation at the Golden Service Level.

The Boy Scouts of America was a special love for Hugh. He was one of the last adults to obtain the Eagle rank by earning the required merit badges. He served the Sagamore council and the region as finance chairman, receiving both the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope awards. Hugh was proud of his Wood Badge award, which certified his skills in camping crafts. He attended many U.S. and international Scout Jamborees where he often served as a physician.

Camping was always an attraction for him, and he took local troops on many long hiking trips in southern Indiana such as the Tulip Tree Trace and the Ten O'clock Line.

Hugh was a faithful member of the First Methodist Church of West Lafayette, for many years.

He had an interest in dogs and belonged to the American Kennel Club as well as being interested in obedience classes. He brought a program to Rotary in which a beautiful collie showed the results of such expert teaching.

As team physician of the West Lafayette High School he worked with the late Gordon Straley for 23 years. One night he invited me to sit with him on the bench at a local football game. He had only one word of advice, "Now if someone goes down, let the trainer go out on the field. Don't go out on the field unless I do. It makes the mothers very nervous when the doctor goes out."

Hugh had a droll sense of humor and a keen wit. Years ago I complained to him that I was having trouble coming up with a diagnosis for a patient. "Well," said Hugh, "if worse comes to worst, you can always examine him!"

Today we have looked for a brief moment at the life of one of our fellow Rotarians, Hugh Steele. What a broad spectrum of interests he had! How he gave so much of himself to so many different community activities. He showed us what a real leader can be.

We shall miss him.

Copyright © 2000 Lafayette Indiana Rotary Club.
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