Wesley (“Wes”) Steele (“Oginga Odinga”)
Wesley Steele, a warrior for family, country, civil and human rights is at peace. He was relieved of duty, Oct. 9 at 7:02 p.m. in Detroit Receiving Hospital. As an advocate for women, children and men who were unable to help themselves, he routinely offered assistance where needed. Wesley was born, March 15, 1940 in Detroit, Michigan to Mary Worthy Scott and Joseph Steele who both preceded him in death. Wesley was the eldest of three siblings from his mother’s second marriage to Alphonzo Scott, who also preceded him in death as did two sisters, Alana Kaye Scott and Gloria Jean Pearson. One sister remains, Renaulta Scott Taylor. They were members of St. John CME Church, which was then located in old “Black Bottom” on St. Aubin and Maple. Wes attended the Detroit Public Schools and graduated with honors from Cass Technical High School in the chemical biological curriculum in 1958. He played sports in middle and high school including baseball and track and field. He continued recreational sports as a U.S. Marine stationed in Cuba, and into his professional and retirement years’ often golfing, bowling and bike riding.
Following his service in the Marines with an honorable discharge, he leveraged the discipline learned in the armed services to help guide his life in all endeavors, both professionally and personally. He graduated from Highland Park College and received several certificates from technical schools in computer programming. During his professional career in Information Technology (IT), he worked at the National Bank of Detroit, Michigan Consolidated Gas Company and Wayne State University. Wes was passionate about African American and Civil War history, and was very knowledgeable about the history of the city of Detroit.
Wesley was Elaine Eason’s, Sunday School Teacher at St. John CME Church before his tour of duty in the Marines. Following his honorable discharge, they met again and later married. To this union was born one daughter, Manifa Saran (meaning Great Joy).
As a nationalist and advocate for human rights, youth and professional organizations, Wesley volunteered his time, resources and talent to improve the quality of life for all through his membership and participation in such organizations as: the Republic of New Africa (a Legionnaire), Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Black Data Processors Association, Junior Achievement, Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute and others. Due to the marginalization of many in his community, he worked hard to encourage youth to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to be accomplished, contributing citizens in business, professional, and technical careers. Wesley was a long time resident of the renovated east side of Detroit where he lived as a youth; enjoying new neighbors and later, retirement. As a good neighbor in the historic Meis Van Der Rohe Townhomes, he served on the cooperative board.
He leaves to cherish his memory his loving daughter, Manifa Steele Dennison; grandchildren, Sinclair Renee Dennison and Simone Naomi Dennison; former wife and care giver, Elaine Eason Steele; Sister, Renaulta Scott Taylor (Rev. Kenneth Taylor); nieces, Angela Pearson Shelton (Ray), Kathryn Scott Creary (Reggie) and Deborah Scott Montgomery (Myran); nephews, Alphonzo DeShaun Scott (Wendy) and Ali Katanbaf; and a host of relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute (rosaparks.org), a non-profit 501(c3) organization that motivates youth to reach their highest potential, at 535 Griswold St., Suite 111-513, Detroit, MI 48226.