Sarah Frances Steele passed away November 19, 2018 at the age of 76. Sarah was born August 28, 1942 in Madisonville to Isaac William Howard Sr. and Winnie Belle (Brinkley). The oldest of five children, she lived with her family in Midway, Texas, where they were sharecroppers. She had fond memories of living on the farm, often telling a story about sitting on a cow’s back while “winging” her arms about, as the cow ate off the toes of her shoes. Another childhood memory she shared was riding her bike, showing off to her mother, “look, no hands” and running the bike into a post, skinning up her face. When Sarah was eight years old, they moved to Houston, and resided there until she moved to Bryan in 1990. While living in Houston, her father laid brick for roads and then went to work for Carnation Dairy until his retirement. Her mother stayed home with the children and took on other small jobs to make ends meet. Sarah attended Sam Houston High School in Houston and graduated Class of 1961.
Right after graduation, Sarah married Chester Hardy McClintock after they divorced, she met and married Curtis Wilburn Steele in 1965. This union lasted for thirteen years, until their divorce in 1979. Sarah was with James Odom until his sudden death in a motorcycle accident. Throughout her relationships, she had many personal trials. She endured two infant deaths and a miscarriage before being blessed with her only daughter Wenda. During her life she gained strength through both financial and personal struggles. Through all her trials, she was a feisty, stubborn woman who loved her family dearly and was a survivor of breast cancer. Sarah loved holidays and big family gatherings, especially for Christmas. Until she was bedridden, the family would gather annually for Christmas at Golden Corral to spend time together and exchange gifts. She looked forward to this special time with her family every year!
Sarah held a variety of occupational positions in her lifetime, including at one point she was a bar maid and cashier in Houston, at biker bar she owned. She provided elder care as a CNA until her own onset of Alzheimer’s and other medical issues that caused her to have to stop working. She found joy in her work and used to tell tales about anything she found entertaining during her varied work experiences. When she wasn’t working, Sarah liked to play card and dice games. She loved to play dominoes and bingo and watch old movies on TV. Her favorite of these was Little House on the Prairie and game shows like Wheel of Fortune. Sarah could be a little ornery; she wanted what she wanted on her terms. She could also be quite comical, she liked to make jokes and be silly. She used to say “Well pardon me!” after she would belch loudly, never minding where she was or who her audience was. However, most of all, Sarah was loving. She dearly loved her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren, and never missed an opportunity to be around a baby.
Sarah loved life in general, in fact her outgoing message on her voicemail summed up her outlook on life perfectly. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us be happy and rejoice in it.” A devoted member of First Baptist Church of Bryan, she was very strong in her faith. If she was not able to be there in person, she watched services on television. Even though her personal demons at times kept her from attending church in person, her strong faith allowed her to support and encourage her daughter to attend. Sarah’s family and church family were extremely important to her.
Sarah leaves behind her legacy through her daughter Wenda Oatis, five granddaughters and five grandsons-in-law, five great-granddaughters, four great-grandsons, her brother Isaac William Howard Jr., her sister LaNell Kubal, her sister Rose Eberhardt, her sister Linda Howard, one brother-in-law, and a slew of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, her baby son David, her baby daughter Tammy, and by James Odom, who loved her until the end of his life and spoiled her rotten.
In order to celebrate Sarah’s life, her family has planned a celebration service on Monday, December 3, 2018 at 2 PM at First Baptist Church of Bryan with a reception to follow.