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Johnnie " Hugh " Steele of Covington Ga was born on November 3,1925 and passed away on November 3.2023, at the age of 98. Hugh was the youngest of twelve children. Hugh attended Heard Mixon School and Graduated from Covington High School as an honor graduate. After high school, Hugh attended Oxford College of Emory University. In 1947,Hugh married Dorothy Lassiter, his childhood sweetheart. They were Married for 65 years, at the time of her death in 2012.
Hugh was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy Steele, his son Hugh Steele ,Jr .,his parents, John James and Ada Kitchens Steele, siblings Emma Kate Henry, Lila Mobley, Nellie Johnson, Robert Steele, Dewey Steele, Lillian Callaway, Carl Steele, Louise Johnson, Bryant Steele, Ruth Stone, and Albert Steele
Survivors include his daughter and son in law Peggy and ( Wayne ) Parrott, grandson Ben and ( Mandy ) Rivers, and great grandchildren Kayleigh Rivers and Kane Rivers.
Hugh was a veteran of World War II, serving in the Asiatic - Pacific Theater, with the Seventh Infantry Division. In February 1948, Hugh was a dozen or so young men who joined the national guard on the first day that the Guard unit was formed in Covington. He completed the rest of his military career in the local National Guard unit, and retired with twenty - one years of military service.
Until his recent health decline, Hugh was an active member of First Baptist church of Covington, having joined in 1952. Over the years, Hugh served as a deacon, Chairman of the Board of Deacons, Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School teacher, Training Union Director, and has served numerous committees. Hugh was the oldest member of the church, having been a member for 71 years.
Hugh was employed by The Bank of Covington for 11 years. He decided to start his own business in 1958, the Steele insurance Agency. In 1966, the Steele - Prescott Agency was formed. After the death of his business partner, the Steele - Jones Insurance Agency was formed in 1975. Hugh received his professional designation as a Certified Insurance Counselor ( CIC ) in 1976 and as a Certified Professional Insurance Agent ( CPIA ) in 1987. During his forty year career in the insurance Agency, he served as President of the Georgia Association of Professional Insurance Agents. He also served five years as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, representing the State of Georgia. Hugh was awarded Agent of the Year in 1969,1985,1990 and 1991. After 40 year career, Hugh retired from the insurance business in 1998.
Hugh was a Tax receiver for Newton County from 1960-1964. During his business career and into retirement, Hugh was active in local organizations. He was a member of the Covington Rotary Club for 64 years, having served as Club President, Secretary, and Bulletin Editor. Hugh also served as President of the Newton County Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Emory University Board of Visitors for eight years and a member and former Treasurer of the Newton County Historical Society.
In 1963, Hugh was one of ten local businessmen who received approval to form a second bank in Covington, The First National Bank of Newton County, Hugh served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for twenty years.
In 1974, Hugh and three other local businessmen felt the community needed a local movie theater. They jointly developed and opened Newton Cinema, formerly located in Newton Plaza. The theater remained under the management for approximately ten years.
In 1998. The Newton County Board of Elections and registration was created. Hugh was appointed Chairman at that time, and continued to serve in that capacity for 21 years, until he retired in 2019, Hugh continued to be involved in local community events,
In 2014, Hugh built a small home and moved back to the family farm where he was born and raised. His greatest joy was spending time with his family, playing games with his grandchildren, and enjoying beach vacations and holidays with his family. Hugh had been an avid reader throughout his life and reading continued to be his favorite pastime. Hugh had a strong intellect, was a source of wisdom, and enjoyed a good laugh. As long as his health allowed, he took daily walks on the farm and enjoyed seeing the splendor in the change of seasons. hard work was instilled in Hugh, and he enjoyed growing fruit trees, blueberries, and vegetables in his garden most every year, until the last few years.
Hugh's generation was called " The Greatest Generation. " He believed his generation lived through some of the most memorable events that any generation had ever witnessed, some of which included The Depression, World War II, man walking on the moon, and unbelievable advances in transportation and technology. Hugh had a profound love of God, family, nation , and newton County. Some of his best memories were of a time when America was God fearing and very patriotic.
A Funeral Service for Mr. Steele will be held Sunday, November 5, 2023, 3:00 P.M., at The First Baptist Church of Covington 1139 Usher St NW Covington ,GA 30014, with Pastor Cody McNutt and Rev. Len Strozier officiating. Friends are invited to visit with the family at the Church prior to the service, Sunday, November 5, from 1:00 – 3:00 P.M. Interment will follow after the service at High Point Baptist Church cemetery, 12025 GA Hwy 36 Covington , GA 30014
Obituary was prepared with love by his family.