Louis McDowell Steele

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Louis McDowell Steele, 96, of Bronaugh, Mo., passed away peacefully in his sleep on Dec. 26 after a brief illness. He was born March 31,1925, in Pittsburg, Kan.

Lou Mac was preceded in death by his parents, James McDowell and Dawn Dunton Steele; his wife, Polly Steele; and his former wife, Ladine Menchetti.

He is survived by his son, Lou Steele (wife, Rachael) and their daughters, Elizabeth and Julie (husband, Brandon Joiner); his daughter, Linda Steele (husband, Mike Phinney), and Linda’s children, John Crowe (wife, Sarah) and Kelly Crowe; his stepdaughter, Missi Menchetti Camp (husband, David); and his stepson, Paul Menchetti (wife, Terri) and their daughters, Stephanie, Samantha and Brooke. He is also survived by three great-grandchildren, Peter and Eloise Crowe and Guy Joiner in addition to his most treasured friend, Jean Barber.

Lou Mac was raised primarily by his maternal grandparents, L.H. and Nettie Dunton of Arcadia, Kan. Upon graduating from Kemper Military Academy in Boonville, Mo., he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Soon after, his mother also enlisted in the Marine Corps — in the Women’s Reserve as an officer candidate.

Lou Mac completed four semesters at Rustin Louisiana Polytech before being sent to South Carolina for boot camp, which he described as hell on wheels. After graduating from officer’s candidate school himself, he and his mother both beamed as she pinned on his second lieutenant bars. He served overseas in Guam and China before being honorably discharged in 1946.

Lou Mac worked for decades at Dunton Hardware Company, Inc., in Arcadia, Kan., which was incorporated in 1950 by L. H. Dunton, eventually becoming a co-owner. The thriving family business expanded into furniture sales and, in its heyday, was regularly making multiple weekly trips to deliver goods to a growing customer base in Kansas City as well as to other metropolitan areas in the region.

In the late 1970s, Lou Mac left the family business to become a full-time farmer in Vernon County, Mo., where he and Polly built a home in which they lived together for nearly 50 years. After retirement, Lou Mac and Polly enjoyed traveling both in the United States and abroad, expanding their food horizons along the way.

The family extends its gratitude to all who cared for Lou Mac and Polly in their farm home for many years, including Martha Caviness, Charlotte Dauben, Susan Ackerson, Vickie Millsap, Thea Hosack and others. In addition, the family is very grateful to the administration and staff of Care Haven Homes based in Prairie Village, Kan., most especially to the nursing and round-the-clock care staff in the Wycklow home where Lou Mac lived with dignity and a discerning taste for ice cream and a good brownie until his death.

Services will be private. Friends and neighbors are invited to a family visitation on Wednesday, Dec. 29, from 1 to 2:30 in the afternoon at the Bronaugh Community Building.

In consideration of the health and well-being of all, facial masks are required. However, at Lou Mac’s request, neckties are prohibited. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kan., and the Bronaugh, Mo., R-7 Schools.