J. Catherine Steele (Nee Thornhill)

April 30, 1930 to March 6, 2022


Our beloved Catherine peacefully passed away at Kenny’s Pond Retirement Residence, St. John’s, NL, on Sunday, March 6th, 2022.  Catherine was born in Grand Bank, NL, the cherished wife of  Harry Steele and daughter of the late Captain Arch and Ruth (Williams) Thornhill.

Leaving to mourn her loss are her proud sons Peter (Brenda), Rob and John (Darlene); grandchildren Kate (Jeff Robb), Diana, Laura (Colin Kaiser), Hayley, Eric, Wyatt and Sofia, and great-grandchildren, Charlotte and Lauchlan Kaiser.  Also survived by her sister Florence (Thornhill) Dobson and brother Roland J. Thornhill (Bonnie); Nephews Barry and David Dobson, Christopher and Jeff Thornhill, Paul and Andrew Thornhill and Geoff Tulk.  She was predeceased by her husband, Harry Steele, brother, Cyril Thornhill, sister-in-law, Sylvia (Mercer)Thornhill, sister-in-law, Audrey (Steele) Tulk, brother-in-law, Kenneth Tulk and niece, Marguerite (Tulk) Leyte.

At age 10 Catherine’s father gave her a gift that would change the course of her life forever.  He surprised her with a piano he had purchased with a load of fish from one of his fishing trips on the Grand Banks.  She began to take piano lessons and soon decided she wanted to be a music teacher.  She was a gifted musician who also learned to play the violin by ear.  Music was something that she would take with her throughout her life, saying that having music in your life was like having a good friend.

She graduated from Mount Allision University Sackville, NB with her Music Degree and moved to St. John’s, NL to teach at Prince of Wales Collegiate.  She loved teaching and she loved the children, and often said that every child taught her something different.  Her caring, nurturing personality and passion for music made her the perfect music teacher whom many children fondly remember to this day.

It was during this time that she met the love of her life – Harry.  He was in the Navy and after a brief courtship, he left to go to Sea and they didn’t speak or see each other for a full year.  When he arrived home they married on June 9, 1954 on Harry’s birthday.

Shortly after that time Harry was transferred to England and Catherine found herself living “overseas”, a time in her life that she thoroughly enjoyed.  They then moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where sons Peter and Robert were born, and although Catherine was enjoying being a Mom, she also began to get in to the real estate business by purchasing distressed properties, renovating them and then selling them, something she was quite good at.  When Harry was then transferred to Washington DC, their son John was born, and soon the Mother of 3 boys was busy entertaining and hosting parties with military dignitaries and guests. The next destination was back to their beloved province of Newfoundland, moving to Gander where Harry & Catherine purchased the Albatross Motel.  Once again Catherine proved herself as a successful business woman as she helped transform the Albatross into a thriving hotel.  Catherine was well respected by staff and patrons, and always treated people with kindness and fairness.

Catherine had a true gift for making everyone around her feel special, welcome and listened to.  She was an extremely thoughtful person who did so much to help people, all the while quietly staying in the background.  But she was a strong, determined, ambitious woman who was a fighter to the very end.

She loved spending time with her “Kaegudeck Travellers” friend group whom she travelled all over the globe with, but found their most special trip right here in NL.  She treasured visits with her family, and she always made time for a good chat with those she loved and those whom she had just met.  She was a smart dresser who had a true eye for fashion.  During the last few years at Kenny’s Pond she often shared stories, jokes and spread a lot of joy to residents and staff through her piano playing.

Her compassion for all those who met her along her life’s journey will never be forgotten.  She was the epitome of grace and the embodiment of goodness.  She truly was a great woman who left a beautiful mark on this world.

Special thanks are extended to the many people who provided care and friendship over the past four years while she was a resident at Kenny’s Pond Retirement Community.

Services to honor the life of Catherine Steele to be held at a later date.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to The Cathedral of St. John’s the Baptist Music or Choral Scholarship Fund at:  http://ourcathedral.ca/giving





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So sorry to hear of the loss of your parents. They were thought highly of by both Richard and myself. Special thoughts Rob to you and to the rest of your family.

So sorry for the loss of both your parents

So sorry for the loss

Pete, Rob, and John;
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of your wonderful MOM, Mrs. Steele. She played such an important role in the lives of your family.
She was a Lady who was well respected by all who were fortunate to have met and known her. Her quiet demeanour and kind personality are her lasting trademarks.
On behalf of my mother, Nell Mercer, please accept our heartfelt condolences.
May your MOM forever Rest In Peace.

Nell Mercer/ son Jim

John, Rob, Pete,

I feel very blessed to have spent time in your Moms company, to enjoy the warmth of her smile and hear the gentle kindness of her heart any time she spoke.

We are so sorry for your loss. It’s been such a tough year for all of you and your families.

With heartfelt condolences, Shelley and I continue our prayers for comfort and peace for all of you.


Truly, a gem! I loved the many occasions I was privileged to spend time with her and Harry over the years , both at Gander and Kenny’s Pond. Both of them oozed wonderful humanity, generosity and kindness.

I extend my condolences to the family.

Peter, Rob, and John,
My deepest condolences. Aunt Catherine was an incredible woman with a beautiful caring heart and hilarious sense of humour. Hopefully in time, you will find peace and comfort in your memories.
Joanne Moores

I remember a remarkable Mother and wife when she visited my mother and father,Roy and Clare Bambury.

To the Steele family, sincere condolences to you all as you say farewell to your beloved mom and grandmother while having just lost your dad and grandfather. Please know we are thinking of you at this very difficult time. The Seabright family.

Darlene, John and Family
Sending healing prayers to you as you deal with losing such a wonderful lady … she sounds like an amazing person and I am sure she has left you with many precious memories that will carry you all through the days ahead. God Bless 🙏🏻🙏🏻

To the Steele Family, my deepest condolences on the passing of Catherine & Harry, both in a very short time. My heart goes out to you all at this very sad time. They both will be sadly missed but be comforted by all the goodness., kindness they gave during their lives.

We wish to send our sincerest condolences to the family of Catherine and Harry Steele. It is very difficult to have lost both parents in such a short time and our hearts go out to all of you. There is no doubt you have wonderful memories of both of them, whether together or apart. Keep those memories. They really were a special couple.

To the family: Deepest condolences from Ursula and me. A great friend and a very special lady. Our thoughts are with you..

The love and support of a mother can never be replaced, but I hope your family finds strength in the love of family and the warm embrace of friends.
I am at a loss for adequate words to express my grief, losing your dad and mom within weeks of each other..
Rob, to You, Pete, John and extended family, please accept my most sincere condolences. I have many fond memories of your parents that I hold close to my heart.

With a heavy heart,I bid “Adieu”to my beloved, dearest friend, Catherine(Cathy) Steele. The memories we made by our close family ties, over the years, will always remain poignant and so significant FOREVER! Deepest and heartfelt sympathy to Peter, Rob , John and their families and to Florence and Roland Thornhill and families.

John, Rob, and Pete:
Condolences on the loss of your mother. The obituary is a fine tribute to a life very well lived, and a great legacy.

To the Steele family , Our thoughts are with you all. May there be comfort in knowing that someone so special will never be forgotten. We will always cherish the beautiful memories of Mrs .Steele . Our most sincere condolences .
Rosemary and Gene Gray

John, Darlene, and the entire Steele family. Deepest sympathy on the death of Mrs. Steele. It is particularly poignant because Mr. Steele died so recently. While it is very hard on the family, it is probably what they would have wanted. John and Darlene, my memories go back to your wedding at St. Nicholas’ Church in Torbay. I found Mrs Steel to be a lady of great warmth, dignity and grace. She was very kind. Thank God for their life and love. Blessings and peace to you all. Canon Shirley and Charlie.

Peter, Rob, John and family. Sincere condolences to you and your family. I met your mother (and father) in Gander many years ago. Your mother and I were members of Toast Masters. We chatted many times and shares many laughs. Years later my son would be the recipient of the Catherine Steele Scholarship that paid his way through music school. Often, I wished she could hear him play. Bless her and your father. I have fond memories of them both. Her legacy will live on through you.

To Rob,John and Peter Steele
To lose both parents within such a short time is
a heavy burden to bear.
Your mother was an accomplished lady with much
Please accept my sincerest condolences

I am one of the “Kaegudeck Girls” and am so happy that I had the opportunity to know this beautiful, talented and quite funny as well as pretty classy lady. She was so kind and thoughtful and the memories we will always carry in our hearts will be there forever. Thank you dear lady and rest in peace with your hubbie. Love you

Sincerest condolences to the Steele family on behalf of Nancy Hickman and family, on the passing of your. Mother Catherine , and also on the recent passing of your Father Harry. Mom will miss seeing them both at Kenny’s Pond, and she has fond memories of Catherine during their time together at Mount Allison University . Cherish your wonderful memories of two remarkable people.

Heather Hickman ( and Nancy)

Sincere condolences to the Steele family..Cherish your many great memories..
Keith and Joan(Thornhill) Welsh

Condolences Rob, Peter and family. She was a wonderful, accomplished lady.

To the boys and the Steele family, please accept my sympathy on the passing of your dear Mom, and your Dad, what a magical life they created together, beautiful dreamers, starlight and music and you.

Christina Perry

John, and the entire Steele family
Sending my condolences on the passing of your remarkable mother. It was a beautiful obit that told her story well. And her death, so close to the passing of your dad, seems like the final chapter of a ‘true love’ story.

Our condolences to Rob and the entire Steele family on the passing of your Mom. Especially hard for you to lose both of your parents in such a short span of time. Death leaves a heartache that no-one can heal, but love leaves a memory that no-one can steal. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Berny and Joan Corscadden

To The Steele Family

We are so very sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing.She was a kind wonderful lady. We first met her and your Dad when we were stationed in Gander in 1969. We have many wonderful memories of them . Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad time

Reid and Evie Nicholson Cape Breton

Rob,Pete and John, Karen and I send you our deepest condolences on the loss of your Mom.
During my work with Harry, your Mom was always most kind and welcoming to me.
It became clear to all of us that it was really the perfectly matched team contribution of Catherine and Harry that offered so much to the people of our Region and our Country. That you for sharing them with us,
by Donald and Karen McDougall

This beautiful lady has joined her loving husband. A very sad time for all of the family but your wonderful memories will keep them with you. Our deepest sympathy to all of the family at this time. They trained you well.

Sorry to hear of Catherine’s passing, my condolences to all the family at this sad time.

My sincere condolences to the family. Mrs. Steele to me; an amazing lady.

My name is Ruby I work at Kenny’s Pond MRS STEEL was a wonderful lady she had great respect for everyone I am so sorry for her family hugs❤️🙏🕊

Our deepest condolences to John, Rob and Peter and their families at this sad time. To lose both parents in such a short time is truly sad. We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers. With sincerest sympathy, Steinar Engeset and all the staff of Harbour Grace Shrimp Co.,

Sending our condolences to John, Rob, Peter and your families at this most sad time. Catherine was a very kind and special lady. Your mom will be dearly missed.
Neal, Dianne and family

Sorry to hear of Catherine’s passing. I was privileged to know her as a friend and she and Harry often visited with Louise and I in Sandy Point when they lived in Gander. I kept in touch with them both in Kenney’s Pond until Covid intervened It was indeed a great honour to have known Catherine. RIP

I will miss having chats and tea at the Empress with Mrs Steele here in Victoria. She was one special lady to work for. Everyone who knew her loved her.. May the wonderful memories of your mother’s love be with you and comfort you all at this time..

With Deepest Sympathy

Dear Family, we were so sorry to hear of Mrs. Steele’s passing. She was a wonderful and caring woman and we were honoured to have known her. She will be missed.

We were saddened to learn of Catherine’s passing and send our sincere condolences to the family. What a wonderful, full life she led. We can’t help but think of Aunt Ruth and Uncle Arch at this time and the fine daughter they had in Catherine.
The Welsh family

Pete, Rob, John and families ; I was saddened to hear of your mom’s passing . She was a kind and caring person and will be missed by so many people. She always told me that (Harry and Rex ) were married to their work and that we should let them do as they wanted, it would make for a happy life. (Always with a smile and a wink .) Hold your memories close as they will help with your healing. Karen Avery❤️

To Peter, Rob, John, Family Members & Friends,
The members of the Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio (SUPRAD) System Oldtimers Association were saddened by the news of your loving Mother Catherine’s passing. All those who knew Catherine, will forever remember and cherish the fond memories of all the enjoyable times that were shared. It has only been a little over one month (28 January 2022) since your loving Dad (Harry) passed away and we can understand that you are still grieving his loss. Please know that as members of your extended military family, we will be holding you, and your families, in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
‘Friends Forever’

Your mother was a gift to the world and now she will be with her other half – Together Forever!

Sending sympathy to all of her loved ones and dear friends….

Peter, Rob, John: : So sorry to learn of Cathy’s passing. May the Good Lord be with you especially at this difficult time. Cathy really was a special person.

Peter Rob and John
Our deepest sympathies on the passing of your mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time

Ms. Steele was so kind and caring and nice to me and my family through a very difficult time when we lived in Gander. I will never forget her generousity and kindness.

We hear lots of great things about Harry and Catherine Steele over the years, all their successes and most notably their acts of kindness. It was just three years ago we met them in person for the first time. There was a group visiting friends in the Colonial Village park in Florida and we got invited in…A chat with Harry was enlightening but the most memorable was Catherines presence. She met us for the first time and when she realized we were from Grand Bank she seem to treat us extra special that night. We loved the sing song and Catherine playing the keyboard there. She said when we were leaving, you’ll have to come to our place next time because I’m not used to this piano and sure enough a few months later our friends The Guys called to say we were invited to visit with them and others, at the Steeles condo about 20 minutes away. We appreciated the offer and we were met with the same friendly smile and curiosity as before by Catherine and so we explained the connection with The Thornhill family from Grand Bank and then the music began. Song sheets were passed around and everyone participated and Harry moved closer on the stool next to his beloved Catherine and, like us, admired her ability to play so well at that time. Our condolences to the Steele family on losing both parents so close together but now they will continue to be together in death as in life because for lovers it was meant to be.

Peter, Rob, John, and Harry: So sorry to learn of Cathy’s passing. May the Good Lord be with you especially at this difficult time. Cathy really was a special person.

Pete, Rob, John ,
Sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. Please accept our condolences during this difficult time in your lives. Keep the fond memories close to heart. Denis/Nellie Lush-Lantz NS, formerly of Pinedo Rd, Gander, NL

To the Steele Family: So sorry to hear that Cathy passed away. Please accept our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. Bill & Verna Blandford

Dear Roland, Bonnie & all the family:
My deepest condolences to you all. May Almighty God surround you with His peace and love and comfort your hearts at this time.

Peter, Rob, John and families,
We were saddened to read of your mother’s passing.. You were blessed with wonderful parents and may your memories of them comfort you all.
The very best,
George & Margie Waye

Peter and Family: My sincere condolences on the loss of your mother, especially with the recent loss of your father. The obituary was a beautiful tribute to a life well lived.

John, I am so very sorry to read the news of your mother’s passing, and right after your father’s passing. Wishing you beautiful memories John to help carry you through this very difficult time.

Condolence to you all

To the family. The lovely Miss Thornhill was my music teacher when I was in high school at PWC. She was a beautiful and gracious soul who was loved by all of her students. I had a wonderful chat with her several years ago in the Halifax airport. We recognized each other and remembered good times in the 1950’s. I will always cherish those memories.
My sincere condolences to you all..

To Peter and Family, my sincere condolences on the loss of your parents. How nice to read of your mother’s love of music. As a pianist myself, I agree with her saying that “having music in your life is like having a good friend. ”
I remember your Father from my time working at the Daily News in Dartmouth, NS, in the late 1980’s, which was also when I became acquainted with you.
May your memories comfort you during this sad time.
Sincerely, Liana Fader

Peter, Rob and John – sincere condolences on the loss of your mom. Mrs. Steel was a dear friend of my (Glen) mother in her Gander days – I am sure she is making music with the angels these days . . . RIP Mrs. Steele.

My deepest condolences to all of you during this sad time. Catherine was a wonderful lady.

Pete, Rob and John. So sorry for your loss. The relationship between a son and his Mom helps keep us grounded and balanced through life’s challenges. Although your Moms physical journey has ended that relationship will endure. My condolences to each of you during this difficult time.

Pete & the entire Steele Family.

Our sincere condolences to all of you at this very sad time. Thoughts & Prayers. The Sacre Family – Steve, Cathy, Bobby & Nick.

The Steele family
Deep condolences on your mother’s passing.
Remembering her bringing in baked goods to Steele Chrysler after Rob bought the dealership.
A very nice lady indeed.

Bill and Fay Ferguson

John and family
I am thinking of you at this terrible time.
Your mom was a wonderful lady and will be missed.
May her memory be a blessing.

Avrum Richler

Deepest condolences to the family of the late J. Catherine Steele.

John, Rob and Peter, please know we are thinking of you. You are blessed to have had such a wonderful mom, a woman of the world who made others feel so special. I am a better person for having met her. Take care!

Condolences to all the family…a remarkable woman has left us.

John, Rob, and Pete…I’m so sad to hear of your Mom’s passing. She always had time for us when we were underfoot and being nuisances, she never minded the extremely loud music emanating from the basement, just kindness and patience. Patience is one of the strongest actions we can have and your Mom was blessed with it….take care.

To the Steele Family,
My sincere condolences on the death of your Mother.
I have wonderful memories of our time in Gander at the Officers Mess and playing bridge with your Mom. Such a gentle, smart and kind lady.. May you have great memories to sustain you through this sad time, especially having just lost your father as well. God Bless you.

John and family, very sorry to hear now about the passing of your mom after you having only recently lost your father. Our condolences to you and all the family. It is obvious that you had two wonderful parents who lived full and productive lives…a wonderful legacy for you and our province! Take care!
Leo and Ellen

Sending our sincerest condolences on the passing of Mrs. Steele. She was a very special lady. She was a ray of sunshine whenever she came to the Glynmill Inn for a visit, we will cherish our memories.
Wayne & Ida Taylor

Rob and family, so sorry to hear of your losses. I loved talking to your mother from time to time during her travels. My prayers are with you and your family. She was a special lady. Dorothy Mayo

Our deepest condolences to Peter, Rob and John on the loss of your Mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families at this very difficult time. Mom and I, like many who have met Cathy, will always remember her kindness, grace and that beautiful smile. God bless you Cathy.

We are so sorry for your loss and send our condolences to you, Rob, Pete and your entire family. Thinking about you all at this sad time and thinking fondly of your mom. A truly beautiful and gentle soul.
Lisa and Fred

To the Steele family,

My deepest condolences on the passing of Mrs. Steele. I have so many fond memories of our time together when I was growing up in Gander. She took me on as a voice and piano student and the hours we spent together flew by. I learned so much in my time with her and I absolutely adored her. Although we haven’t seen each other for many years, I have often thought of her. She knew how to push me and wasn’t afraid to put me in my place if she didn’t think I was working hard enough. She expected no less than my best and she made me expect that of myself. It is a lesson that I have carried with me. She was a wonderful woman who made us all the better for having known her. She will be dearly missed.

There are not many couples in this life who not only augment each other, but also make life so much better in so many ways for other people.
Cath and Harry did just that.
Two hard blows for the family in losing Mom and Dad in quick succession.
Our Heartfelt Sympathy on the loss of a truly Gifted, Accomplished and Decent Woman. Another great loss to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Pat & Paula

To the family : Our deepest sympathy on the passing of such a beautiful lady. Your mother was a very special person who treated everyone with respect . We shared many of meals and enjoyed every minute. You have so many wonderful memories . Keep them close to your heart. Thinking of you all
Jerry and Hilda White and family

I remember singing in the Carriage Room of the Glynmill Inn for the 75th Anniversry Celebrations, with your mom at the piano. Memories from Cats was the song…kind of fitting right now. We always enjoyed a chat when your mom and dad would visit. Elegance and grace is how i will remember her. Your father adored her and she him. It was always lovely to see her coming through the door.

Sorry to hear the passing of your mom, I meet few times I worked for Mr Steele at the fishing lodge in Labordor, my prayers and thoughts are with you at this time,( R.I.P. Mrs Steele )from Pearce & Geraldine Brinson,Change Islands,

So very sorry for your loss John on the loss of your beautiful Mom. . So sad to lose both parents in such a short period. I am a former employee of Clarke Transport and remember your Dad when he would visit the building. Please accept my sincere condolences.

What a gorgeous picture of Catherine! She was a class act. I admired her greatly.
My deepest condolences to all of you..

Sandra Wheeler

John and family.
My deepest condolences on the passing of your mother.

Paul Raynes

my condolences to the family

Pete, Rob, John and families,
It is hard to say goodbye to such a wonderful friend. I treasure the memories of all the many fabulous times we shared over the past 50 years. Your Mom is near and dear to my heart. With love and sympathy to you all.
Betty Primmer

The Steele Family,,

Sorry to hear about the passing of Mrs. Steele. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. Wishing you peace and comfort to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.

Peter, Rob, John and families,

I am sorry for your loss. Please accept my sincere condolences.

Peter, Rob, John and families. We haven’t crossed paths in many years but sending sincere condolences on the death of a wonderful lady. Her graciousness and thoughtfulness would have been learned from her dear mother, Aunt Ruth. As we read her obituary we have been remembering Skipper Arch and Aunt Ruth fondly.

To The Steele Family;
My deepest condolences on the passing of your wonderful mom. A true Lady who will be missed by all who her life touched. Heaven has become a more beautiful place with her arrival.

Rest in Peace Mrs Steele

To the Steele/Thornhill family: Although our paths
crossed only briefly, Catherine impressed me with
her dignity and grace. Over dinner at the Glynmill
one evening, I learned two things – that Harry
loved Catherine and turnip and Catherine played
second fiddle to nobody. In fact I rather suspect
that she was the quiet capable conductor of the Steele family orchestra. Sincere condolences from
Tom and I for your great loss.