Our condolences and prayers extend to the family, loved ones and friends of Commissioner Robert Steele. He died late this morning at 55. The Cook County Board Commissioner would have turned 56 on June 29.
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.
The official statement from Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle says, “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,” Preckwinkle said.
“Robert was a lifelong Chicagoan and he cared deeply about his community of North Lawndale. 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. 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.”
The Cook County Board President continued, “My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”
City of Chicago Treasurer, Kurt Summers released:
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Cook County Board Commissioner and my dear friend, Robert Steele,” Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers said. “Robert was a great man with a true dedication to serving the people of Chicago. Everything Robert pursued in his life was in a pursuit to bettering our city, our neighborhoods and our people. From working in community outreach for the Chicago Park District to his role as Executive Director of the Lawndale Business & Local Development Corporation, and ultimately as a Cook County Commissioner, Robert touched the lives of many Chicagoans throughout the course of his career. I had the incredible privilege of working with Commissioner Steele when I was Chief of Staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and I will forever be touched by his spirit. My prayers are with former President Bobbie Steele and the rest of Robert’s family and many friends during this incredibly difficult time.”
Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans stated:
“I am saddened to learn of the passing of Commissioner Robert Steele and offer my deepest condolences to his family, colleagues and constituents.”
“Commissioner Steele was an effective advocate not only for his district but for the justice system as well. He took particular interest in the young men and women in the system, and I will always be thankful for his support to programs that helped individuals find a positive path to travel in life.”
Statement from the Family of Commissioner Steele:
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Robert Steele, President Pro Tempore for the Cook County Board and Commissioner of Cook County’s 2nd District.
Following in his mother Bobbie Steele’s legacy of public service, Robert faithfully served on County’s Board of Commissioners since his installation in 2006. He held leadership roles as Chairman of the Contract Compliance Committee, Environmental Controls Committee; and Vice Chairman of the Forest Preserve Finance Committee.
Robert was affectionately called the Man of Steele and he had the biggest heart for people. He loved working in the trenches alongside community organizations, churches, schools, at-risk youth and senior citizens. He developed great alliances with these groups by working to bring Empowerment Zones to the City of Chicago. Most recently, he was heavily focused on addressing safety and restorative justice in his service areas.
A tireless public servant, Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele will be deeply missed by the communities he served, his family and his children.