William Robert Steele

March 22, 1938January 6, 2019

William Robert Steele, 80, died peacefully on Sunday, January 6 in Raleigh, the place he called home since 1968.

Bill also spent much time at his mountain home in Laurel Bloomery, TN, where he enjoyed exploring the many nature trails on ATVs while his beloved wife Nina Beth rode nearby on horseback.

He was raised on a farm near Humboldt, TN, the son of Elbert E. and Esther Stinson Steele. Bill was the youngest of a loving family of eight siblings, Harry, Katherine, Vernon, Paul, Martha, Ed and Anita. He grew up loving tractors, cars and all things mechanical and could fix anything that was broken. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with an electrical engineering degree in June 1968 and went on to a life-long career with IBM. He was leader of the team that developed the revolutionary supermarket and retail laser barcode scanner technology and was approached to join Microsoft as a partner when they were a startup of thirteen people. After an early retirement, he traveled the world with his wife Nina Beth to destinations like China, Africa, South America, Antarctica, Europe and all over the US and Canada. He is survived by his wife Nina Beth, son Robert and partner Debbie, daughter Ann Marie, grandson Sean, step-son Bill and wife Marie and step-daughter Beth.

Services will be held in Nashville on Sunday January 13 at one o’clock, Woodlawn’s Dignity Hall with a graveside service immediately following. Gathering of family and friends will be held from eleven o’clock until the service at one o’clock. In lieu of flowers send donations to The American Lung Association ( Visit the online obituary:


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William Robert Steele

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Richard Ossowski

January 19, 2019

I worked with Bill for many years at IBM. He was my manager for a lot of those . He was a caring person and very good engineer. Every time I came in office, he was always tinkering with something. I know I used to drive him crazy with on some of the project problems I used to have, but he never lost his cool.

He helped me when I had a medical problem with my mother. Making flexible work hours while I taking care of her.

I will miss him as I think his family and friends will. My condolences to his family. Rest in peace Bill and my God bless you.

Dick Ossowsk

Dave Lenderking

January 19, 2019

I have many fond memories of Bill . But the one that I enjoy smiling about is the time I came to his garage in north Raleigh one evening. I believe he and Nina Beth were still dating and Bill had a huge garage behind the house. I pulled my car partially into the garage and popped the hood. Bill said "I need a screw driver" , at which point he took his foot and began to "sort " through the hand tools laying all across the garage floor. I had to laugh ! Fairly quickly ,he said "here we go" and picked up a screw driver from the pile.
He thougt me how to handle my car AC and I still have full set of AC gauges . Why I still have them , I have no idea. Maybe it was so I won't ever forget his friendship ! He will be missed by many.

Bob Cato

January 16, 2019

I worked with Bill at IBM for many years and he was my manager for several years. I enjoyed knowing him the entire time. He was a very capable engineer and a genuine and caring human being.

He was my manager during a time when I working a lot of extra hours to get a project finished that I really liked working on. It was a stressful time and my first wife left me. I could see Bill's eyes tear up when I told him. We talked for a good while, which helped me feel better. I will always be grateful to him for that.

The way he handled some other situations also made me respect him even more.

I regret loosing track of Bill after he retired. I know his family really misses him. They have my condolences. May Bill rest in peace.

Bob Cato

George and Marilyn Hall

January 14, 2019

Nina Beth, our condolences for the loss of your beloved husband, Bill. We pray you feel the love of God, family, and friends surrounding you to give you comfort and peace during this time.
You are in our prayers,
Marilyn and George Hall

FCE MEMBERS Laurel Bloomery, TN

January 13, 2019

Dear Nina Beth,
Our prayers go out to you during this time of your loss from our FCE Group.
At our last gathering in November which you and Bill hosted, was so wonderful. We would never
have thought that would be our last to see Bill. He seemed to enjoy our July picnics at the cabin as well, and we will miss not having him there.
Remember we are here for your support and anything you may need.
Love to all
Your Laurel FCE Group

Carol Camp

January 10, 2019

Dear Nina Beth, Please know that everyone of your friends at New Comers and in the Hiking Group are both thinking of you and sending moral support and standing right beside you in spirit. Your loss is unimaginable and we are praying for you dear. Above all, hang in there....

Love, Carol and Jim Camp