Frederic L. Steele, 78, of Maynard died suddenly on February 6, 2014 in Ft. Myers, Florida. Fred was born in Boxborough on June 14, 1935. Not just a coincidence of his birth date, he loved his country, American military history and our flag. He attended the Boxborough public schools and graduated from Clark University in Worcester in 1958. From his teen years, he tinkered with automobiles, especially Fords, and in that pursuit he followed in the footsteps of his late father, Avery W. Steele, who was a Ford dealer and salesman, as well as Maynards State Representative in the Great and General Court. Fred was a founder of the Ty-Rods, started in 1952, The Oldest Hot Rod Club in the East. It began as a hot rod and drag racing club, and Fred was an early President. In 1952 he built a 1932 chopped and channeled Ford Roadster, a fender-less rod known as the purple hot rod, the first in this area. California beckoned, with its sunshine and plenty of hot rods; and for several years, Fred and a dozen or more Ty-Rod members moved to the West Coast. Over the years Freds knowledge of antique cars and car parts became legendary and extended across the US and to Australia. He collected some colorful examples of American auto making, including a fire engine red 1959 Lincoln Continental convertible and a yellow 1932 Roadster. Among the other cars he built, highlights include his1950 bright yellow chopped Mercury sedan and chopped 1929 Model A Sedan. He loved to take them on spins and showed them in many car shows, including the Ty-Rod Old Timers events that he created. He was a member of several other car clubs as well as the Elks Club, like his father before him. In addition to his wife of over 46 years, Patricia, he is survived by his two daughters, Lisa Steele and her husband, Allen Wilkins of Clinton, Massachusetts, and Cheryl Steele of Alexandria, Virginia; four siblings, Martha Steele Brown of Merrimac, New Hampshire, Winifred Steele Walker of West Topsham, Vermont, Jeanne Steele Kangas of Boxborough, and Joanne Steele of St. Remy, New York; and a granddaughter, Barbara Iris Wilkins of Clinton. A memorial service celebrating his life will take place in May 2014.
Published in The Beacon-Villager from Feb. 25 to Mar. 4, 2014