Timothy Emmett Steele could very easily be regarded as one of those unforgettable characters we used to read about in Readers Digest. His all-too-brief life affected many people. The Dubuque, Iowa, native made Chicago his second home where he was a very successful representative for the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. My wife and I had the good fortune to meet Emmett many years ago. After hearing about the MACC Fund from us, he was deeply touched by the children and the unique story of the MACC Fund. Following his untimely death while in his mid-thirties, he left a $100,000 gift from his estate to help the MACC Fund help the children with cancer whom he loved.
For the past 16 years, his friends hosted a party in his honor by carrying on his memory and his legacy of love for the children by contributing proceeds from the event to the MACC Fund. The final party was held on Friday, Aug. 5 at the beautiful Saddle and Cycle Club on Chicago’s lakeshore which graciously hosted nearly all of the annual “Midsummer Night’s Remembrances.” It was another beautiful night with the guest of honor handling the weather as he did throughout the Party’s glorious run. The popular “Afrodisiacs” provided the musical entertainment once again to the dancing delight of all.
As is often the case, all good things come to an end. It was a bittersweet ending like many endings are, but it was far more sweet than bitter when you consider that nearly $500,000 was contributed over the 16 years of the Party to commemorate and celebrate the life of Timothy Emmett Steele. I had the privilege to know him for far too short a time, but I knew him long enough to know that I wish I known him longer. People said he always made everyone feel like they were the most important person. He had a gift of friendship and caring and the legacy of that gift is the Gift of Hope his family and friends have given through the annual summer soirees.
The MACC Fund’s heartfelt thanks on behalf of the children and their dedicated and loving caregivers goes out to his family and all who supported the annual Party. Very special thanks goes to the organizing committee members of the T. Emmett Steele Memorial Foundation. They include Board of Directors Jim Clary, Peter Garvy and Dwight Ekenberg who was the group’s ardent leader with support from his wonderful wife, Robin. The committee members were Marty Crowe, Bob Howington, Bill Kelly, Ed Murphy, Brett Opie, Tom White, Kevin Carroll, Sean Hunter, Dave Stewart, Emmett’s sister and brother, Brigid and Mike, and his nephew John Mickelson.
Emmett’s spirit will live on in his wonderful family and countless friends and in the case of the MACC Fund, in the research his gift and his friends’ gifts have supported. He would be pleased to know that the overall cure rate for childhood cancer has climbed to 80%, thanks in part to this special Party in his honor. He would be the first to note though that the work of helping the children if far from done as shown by that 20% number. Hopefully the T. Emmett Steele Foundation’s loyal supporters will continue to support the MACC Fund, which would make Emmett even prouder! The assets of the Foundation will be liquidated by the end of the year with all of our remaining funds donated to the MACC Fund. We think that he would like that.
Timothy Emmett Steele truly loved the children and his wonderful family and friends dearly loved him.
John Cary, Executive Director