OBITUARY: Norman Steele (1941-2023)

Norman Steele
Norman Steele speaking up at a Fire Island National Seashore Deer Management meeting in 2014.
Photo by Shoshanna McCollum

Born on March 1, 1941, the former Seaview resident passed at age 82 surrounded by those he loved on December 7, 2023.

Norman was an extremely vocal animal rights advocate, especially on Fire Island. He fought for the massive white-tail deer population as the former head of the Fire Island Environmental Coalition. In that capacity, he supported the early 2000s immunocontraceptive research project all across Fire Island, a pilot project in which female deer were darted with a birth control vaccine to help control the increasing population.

It was a humane option that Norman was very fierce about. Those who knew him described him as someone who would “do whatever he needed to for the deer.”

The community was big for Norman, who was always generous with volunteer time. Robin Citriniti, a having served as long time officer on the Ocean Beach Community Fund board of directors, recalled that Norman was “always willing to do things for the community,” as well as a pleasant person and “a do-er.”

Norman’s generous and polite attitude will be greatly missed by those who knew him.

Richard Kossoff of Ocean Beach had this to say in an obituary comment for Norman shortly after his passing: “A consummate Fire Islander who religiously fed the deer, loved softball and tennis, and was always available for social events; one of the good guys of our life.”

Norman leaves behind his wife, Addea Steele, and nephew, Paul Steele. A gathering celebrating Norman’s life was held on December 15, 2023, followed by a committal service at Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.

Norman’s legacy and impact on Fire Island shall forever live on, and may he always be remembered for the fabulous animal lover that he was.