Louise S. Steele, docent and volunteer

April 11, 2013

Louise S. Steele, 96, a Smithsonian docent who was also active with the League of Women Voters, died March 8 at the Collington retirement community in Mitchellville.

The cause was heart ailments, said her son Scott Steele.

Mrs. Steele was a docent at the Smithsonian Institution’s Castle building and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery for more than 30 years. In the late 1970s, she was the primary docent at the vice president’s home during the Carter administration, her son said.

Louise Viola Stein was a native of Evanston, Ill., and a 1939 graduate of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. She taught in the Chicago area before moving to Washington in the mid-1940s.

Mrs. Steele was past legislative chairwoman of the D.C. Parent-Teacher Association and a trustee of what is now the University of the District of Columbia.

She was involved with the League of Women Voters and received a Maryland governor’s citation for her service in 2009.

In 2003, she moved to Mitchellville from the District.

Her husband of 61 years, John Steele, died in 2001.

Survivors include three children, Scott Steele of New York, Deborah Larmore of Boston and John Steele Jr. of Lawrenceville, N.J.; and a granddaughter.

— Megan McDonough