Title: Marine Corps Sergeant, World War I; prison guard, police officer
Birthdate: May 30, 1896
Death Date: April 16, 1954
Plot Location: Section D, Range 6, Lot A

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Edward was the fourth of nine children born to a Swedish immigrant, Frans Stäl (who anglicized his name to Frank Steele) and his Norwegian immigrant wife, Louise. Like a lot of Lutherans from Scandinavia, they settled in the upper midwest. The family was raised in Superior, Wisconsin where the children were baptized in the Swedish Lutheran Church

Frank was a foreman and his two brothers were craftsmen at a company that manufactured water pumps and farm equipment. Some of the children had part-time jobs there as helpers, including Edward. He moved up to jobs like fitter and teamster, working full-time after his father died in 1910. Just before he turned 20 he joined the Marines.

Most of his first year was spent at Mare Island, California except for a brief expedition to the Philippines. Private Steele became a corporal in 1917 and a sergeant in 1918 while stationed primarily at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There were a few assignments as a prison guard at Paris Island, South Carolina and back at Mare Island. From late 1920 to the end of his service in 1922, 1st Sergeant Steele served at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.

Edward married Margaret Trainer in Fredericksburg, Virginia on May 31, 1921 while finishing his tour of duty. They moved to her hometown of Philadelphia where each of their four children were born and raised. Because of his military experience it wasn’t hard to find work as a prison guard, which kept him employed through the Great Depression.

Sometime in the mid-1930s he became a Philadelphia police officer, holding that job for 16 years before retiring. The photo of the Steeles at their front door suggests Edward was a very tall man, which is contradicted by information on his World War II draft registration, which says he was 5’ 4 ½” tall and 160 pounds. The registrar must have meant 6’ 4 ½” but that would mean he was extremely thin. His height would suit him well in his job of directing traffic, making him more visible to motorists. Twenty years after his death this gravestone would mark the burial of both Edward and Margaret.


Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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