On Thursday, October 29, 2020, Nicole Ann (Harrold) Steele, at home and surrounded by the love of her family, courageously and with the heart of a warrior put to rest her twelve-year battle against breast cancer.
She was welcomed into this world on March 4, 1974, the daughter of Timothy and Marcia (Felger) Harrold. Raised in Washingtonville, OH, Nikki graduated from Leetonia High School in 1992 and Ohio University in 1995. After a start in Cincinnati, she and the love of her life, her husband, Gary L. Steele whom she married on November 9, 1996, made their home in Westerville, OH.
As a member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Parish in Westerville, she and her husband raised their four children in faith, community, commitment, and love. Relationships were vitally important to Nikki. Whether she was caring for her own children (and many of the neighborhood kids); or for children in a job that she loved dearly at Little Blessings; or through her work for the City of Westerville Parks and Recreation, she truly inspired and encouraged the importance of coming together in community.
Nikki also had a competitive spirit that served her well as a wife, mother and warrior against cancer. She was an inductee to the Leetonia High School Athletic Hall of Fame for her mad basketball and volleyball skills on the court. She competed and encouraged others through her participation in breast cancer awareness events, such as the breast cancer survivor rowing team and Race for a Cure. She certainly instilled that competitive-never give up spirit in her children. She would always be found cheering them on at their own uniquely competitive pursuits such as Abigail’s success in volleyball, basketball and track and field with the shot put, Elisabeth’s volleyball and competitive art shows, Gabriana’s rowing regattas and lacrosse competitions, and Gary’s wrestling meets and football games. Nikki immersed herself in whatever the kids were involved in. She would tirelessly be found pitching in for whatever was needed most, whether it be fundraising, advocating, cheering them on or wiping away their tears.
At home is where Nikki shined her brightest. She loved order and every Saturday would have the kids up and cleaning the house. Afterall, she would say that "order is absolutely necessary when you have four kids in four years with the youngest two being twins"! She has passed this trait on to Abigail, so Nikki can rest assured that big Gary will still never be able to find his keys, as Abigail will continue to move them just like her mom did! Being organized just gave her more time to enjoy her life with her family. Nikki loved to plant flowers in the yard, to feel the earth in her hands and appreciate every day to its fullest. She would spend time shooting hoops in the driveway with the kids, reminding them that she was the boss on the basketball court as well! No matter how big little Gary would get, she’d still take him down wrestling him in the kitchen, being cheered on by the girls. When the playing was done, she would gather them to help her in the kitchen. She relished in putting on family dinners, bringing everyone she loved together to give thanks because she knew all too well how short life can be. Just last year, she had the honor to join her brother in celebrating their parent's 50th wedding anniversary with their closest family and friends.
When all was said and done and the day was coming to a close, Nikki could always be found making memories, like when she would hear Gabriana playing the guitar in her room and quietly make her way in and just start singing along. To relax, she loved walking hand in hand with her soulmate, Gary, whether it would be on the beach for those cherished family vacations that she so loved, or just down the road at the dog park walking their pups in their quiet time together.
Nikki loved watching her children grow into young adults and coming alongside them with college visits, applications and move-in days. Even in her last days on this earth, she was asking the twins where their applications were in process, reminding them to consider alternatives so that they would find the best fit for themselves. For the two already in college, she never missed a beat. Sunday facetime calls were a must so that she could stay up to date on all the drama and gossip that she could soak in to stay connected with them.
In addition to her parents, Timothy and Marcia (Felger) Harrold of East Palestine, and her husband, Gary L. Steele of Westerville, she is survived by her daughters Abigail Marie, a Senior at the University of Alabama; Elisabeth Grace, a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati; and Gabriana Leigh, a senior at Delaware Area Career Center with plans to attend Bowling Green State University; and her son, Gary Nathanial, a senior at Westerville Central High School with plans to attend Ohio University; her older brother Stephen (Karen) Harrold of Columbiana; her sister-in-law, Kimberly (Joey) Steele-Marks of Washingtonville, brother-in-law, Scott Steele of Leetonia, parent-in-laws Gary and Linda Steele of Leetonia; niece Emilee; nephews, Luke, Jake, Korey and Trent; and her great-nephews who all loved her dearly.
She will be remembered as a passionate and loving wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, and friend with the heart of gold and the fighting spirit of a warrior. That spirit will continue to shine bright through all those that were blessed to have had her in their lives
. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Nikki’s memory be made to The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research with The James: The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC).
Arrangements have been entrusted to Hill Funeral Home in Westerville, OH. Due to Covid-19, EVERYONE wishing to attend calling hours MUST call Hill Funeral Home at 614-882-2121 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday-Saturday to reserve one of the 30-minute time slots starting at 4pm until 6pm Wednesday, November 4, 2020. NO EXCEPTIONS. Only thirty registered people will be permitted in the building at a time. This is necessary to protect the family, our staff and everyone wishing to attend.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30am, Thursday, November 5, 2020 at St. Paul the Apostle Church, 313 N. State Street, Westerville, OH. The service will be live streamed click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcrVha0W90Q