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Oliver Lee Steele Jr.

Iowa City

Oliver Lee Steele Jr., 90, of Iowa City, passed away on Dec. 5, 2018, at his home.
No services are planned at this time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center or Audubon Society.
Oliver was born in Birmingham, Ala., May 13, 1928, son of Oliver Lee and Mary Lucile (Abernethy) Steele Sr. Oliver graduated from Auburn University, served in the armed forces in Germany, and on return received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia.
In 1967, Oliver was hired as the professor of English at the University of Iowa, where he taught for several decades, retiring in 1992. As a professor at Iowa, Oliver was passionate about introducing the world of literature to his many students. His research and publications were centered on bibliography and poets of the Elizabethan era.
In retirement, Oliver and Joy shared a love of reading mystery novels, working their way through the vast collection at the Iowa City Public Library. He loved the outdoors, and in later life spent much of his time alongside Joy walking in nature. As avid birdwatchers, they had many favorite local spots like Kent State Park and The Iowa Field Campus, and every so often would venture out on longer trips around the country, where they could witness migrating birds.
When not engaged in those activities, Oliver enjoyed watching baseball, especially his beloved Chicago Cubs. He was a gentle and reserved man who cared deeply about his work and issues of social justice.
Oliver is survived by his wife, Joy (Cogdell) Steele; two sisters, Ann Andrews and Mary Lynch; his children, Christopher (Monica) of Ely, Minn., Mark (Janet Lilly) of Greensboro, N.C., Eleanor of Iowa City, Andrew of Staatsburg, N.Y., and Paul (Anne) of Austin, Texas; and his much-loved grandchildren, Emma, Jimmy, Elizabeth, Grace, Samuel and Theo.
Oliver was preceded in death by his son-in-law, Kirk Walther, of Iowa City.
Online condolences may be sent to www.lensingfuneral.com.
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