Obituary: Steele Johns

Steele Johns passed away on February 5, 2022, in Arkadelphia, AR. His death was sudden and he had not been ill. He was born on September 9, 1955, to Wade and Helen Johns on Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah. His father retired as a Lt. Commander of what is now called the Seal Team, so Steele’s family frequently relocated during Steele’s younger years. He spoke often about the time he spent as a boy in Japan and loved showing off the decorative pieces his family had collected from there. When Steele was 12, his family settled in San Diego, California. Steele graduated from Hilltop High School with the class of 1973. He went on to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, before ultimately receiving a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Redlands University in 1987. BYU was his school and he loved BYU football.

Steele was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served a two-year mission for the church to Thailand, and upon returning home to San Diego met the love of his life, Cindy Rice. The two were united in marriage on June 24, 1978 in the Los Angeles Temple. Steele served in many capacities in the church, and at the time of his death he was a Sunday School teacher. Steele and Cindy had six children together and countless surrogates. Steele took on the role of everyone’s dad, always happy to help change a tire, teach a new skill, or give advice. He was always only a phone call away for everyone, and his kids’ friends always knew they were welcome to just stop by even if the kids weren’t home. Steele worked in California as a paramedic for 23 years. He taught EMT and Paramedic classes for 10 years at Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista.

He was passionate about sharing the knowledge he had gained over the years. He was a great teacher, as well as a mentor. Steele was someone you could ask how to do just about anything, and he would carefully explain each step in great detail. In 2003, he accepted a job that required the family to relocate to Arkadelphia, Arkansas. When he first came here to open the Goodrich facility in 1998, he called Cindy to say this was such a beautiful place and marveled about the lake. He had found where he wanted to live. Steele had a great sense of humor and always knew how to make everyone smile. He was easily the loudest at every gathering and kept everyone around him in stitches. He loved to play pranks and get people to see the lighter side to life.

Most summer evenings you could find Steele on his boat on Lake DeGray. Nothing made him happier than enjoying time on the water with his loved ones. He loved to fish, pull people behind the boat in tubes, or just throw out the anchor in a secluded spot to jump in the water and lounge on a noodle. Steele changed fields a few times and ended his career as an Environmental Health and Safety Manager. He and Cindy both retired at the end of 2021, giving them a chance to enjoy each other’s company without the demands of their careers. Steele was preceded in death by his son, Jason; his parents, Wade and Helen; and his brother, Riley.

Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Cindy of Arkadelphia, AR; his children, Cheryl (Mike) Bazzel of Arkadelphia, AR, Jimmy (Josh) Kidd of Glendale, CA, Doug (Bridgett) Johns of Bismarck, AR, Jared (Marrisa) Johns of Malvern, AR, and Mary Johns of Arkadelphia, AR; his grandchildren, Trevor and Lily Bazzel of Arkadelphia, AR, and Richard, Elaina, Robert, Emilee, and Evie Johns of Bismarck, AR.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 12, 2022 at 1:00PM at the Garrison Lecture Hall at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. Memorials may be left to Mission Fund, c/o Cindy Johns.

Final arrangements are entrusted to The Welch Funeral Home of Arkadelphia.  Visit to sign the guest book.

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