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By L. Nicole Trottie
COOK COUNTY | Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele died late Monday morning at the age of 55. He had been recovering from a bout of pneumonia. Steele would have turned 56, June 29.
Steele served as President Pro Tempore for the Cook County Board and was commissioner of the county’s 2nd District.
His family released a statement saying, in part, “Robert was affectionately called the Man of Steele and he had the biggest heart for people. He loved working in the trenches among community organizations, churches, schools, at-risk youth, and senior citizens. … A tireless public servant, Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele will be deeply missed by the communities he served, his family and his children.”
Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle remembered Steele for his long career in public service in Chicago and Cook County.
“I am saddened to learn of the death today of Commissioner Robert Steele. Robert’s life was marked by his long career in public service for the residents of Chicago and Cook County. He took office as Cook County Commissioner of the 2nd District in 2006.”
“His contributions to the Board were many. He was President Pro-Tempore of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the Forest Preserve District Board. He served as chairman of the Environmental Control Committee and the Contract Compliance Committee and as vice chairman of the Health and Hospitals Committee.”
“Robert was a lifelong Chicagoan and he cared deeply about his community of North Lawndale” Preckwinkle said. Preckwinkle added, “He was a tireless advocate for organ donation after receiving a kidney transplant from his sister and could always be counted on to explain why organ donation is so important. In addition to his Cook County Board committees, Robert served on several local and national boards. He was member of Mt. Sinai Hospital board of directors, the Gift of Hope board of directors and he served as president of the board of trustees of Frazier Preparatory Academy.”
Preckwinkle added, “He was also a leader nationally. Robert served as a member of the board of the National Association of Counties Officials (NACo) and was a member of the board of the National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO). He had served as president of NABCO from 2008-2010.”
She concluded, “My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin released a statement saying, in part, “His presence will be missed by myself, our colleagues and all of the Second District. I spoke to former Board President Bobbie Steels and offered my sincerest condolences to her and his entire family.”
Robert Steele, son of former Cook County Commissioner and Board President Bobbie Steele, graduated with a degree from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md. Steele worked as a Community Outreach Manager in Chicago’s Park District and as Executive Director of the Lawndale Business & Local Development Corporation.