Obituaries: Feb. 14, 2018

Samuel McDowell Steele Jr.

March 16, 1939 — Feb. 2, 2018


NEWLAND – Samuel McDowell Steele Jr., M.D., was born March 16, 1939, to Maxine Meek Steele and Samuel McDowell Steele at their home in Osawatomie, Kansas. He passed away Feb. 2, 2018, at his home in Newland.

He was a graduate of Osawatomie schools, earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics from Pittsburg State University and went to medical school from the University of Kansas. He was a graduate of the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C.

After being graduated from the University of Kansas, he did an internship in the U.S. Navy at Charleston, South Carolina. His residency was at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia in urology. Included in his 27-year Naval career, Capt. Steele was a Chairman of Urology in Portsmouth, Virginia, with eight residents and Task Force Director of the Combat Casualty Care Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

His military medals include the Legion of Merit, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and National Defense Medal x 2. Other recognitions are The Committee on Emergency Medical Service, American Medical Association presented an Award of Appreciation for his contributions toward improvement of medical readiness in the informed services and for the planning, development, implementation and guidance of the Armed Forces Combat Casualty Care Course; Pittsburg State University Alumni Meritorious Achievement award; and Outstanding Alumnus for Osawatomie High School.

After leaving the Navy, he came to Avery County in 1993 to practice at Charles A. Cannon and Sloop Hospital and later added Spruce Pine Hospital in Mitchell County. He very much enjoyed his years practicing urology in the mountains.

He loved the Lord and had served on the deacon body at First Baptist Church Newland.

He enjoyed swimming, SCUBA diving and snow skiing. He and his wife, Olivia, enjoyed traveling all over the world and going to the Atlantic coast beaches. He especially looked forward to going to alumni reunions in Kansas and to his war college class Christmas party in the Washington, D.C. area.

He leaves behind his wife of 57 years, Olivia Smith Steele, of the home; his son, Andrew, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; sister-in-law, Shirley Shores, and husband, Wyman, of Galveston, Texas; and sister-in-law, Anna Smith, of Gassville, Arkansas.

The service was conducted Tuesday, Feb. 6, by Dr. Bill Jones at First Baptist Church Newland. Visitation was 3 p.m. and funeral service was 4 p.m. A military graveside service was 2 p.m. Feb. 13, in Osawatomie Cemetery, Osawatomie, Kansas.

Words of comfort and memories may be shared with the Steele family by visiting

The care of Samuel and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.



Donald G. Warren

Aug. 29, 1930 — Feb. 4, 2018


SPRUCE PINE – Donald G. Warren, 87, of Azalea Lane, Spruce Pine, died Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, at the North Carolina State Veteran’s Home in Black Mountain.

Born Aug. 29, 1930, in Alamance County, he was the son of the late Lewis Welborn and Fannie Burch Warren. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a grandson, Brandon Warren; his brothers, Bill and James Warren; and his sisters, Grace Warren, Ruth Richmond and Sarah Almond.

Don was a Korean War Veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He was a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Spruce Pine where he served as deacon, church treasurer and was a member of the board of trustees. He graduated from North Carolina State University in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Furniture Manufacturing. After his military service, Don had several positions in the furniture industry where he retired as vice president of manufacturing for Henredon Furniture in 1986. After his retirement, Don consulted and recruited industry to Mitchell County and founded Finishes First in Spruce Pine.

Don will be remembered as a loving and caring husband and father. He was an avid fan and supporter of N.C. State Wolfpack athletics and sent all five of his sons to the university. Golf was his lifetime passion and he enjoyed both playing the game and watching it on TV. He enjoyed reading and vacationing with his family each summer at the beach. Don was also a member and officer of the Spruce Pine Optimist Club, where he served many years as the clock operator for its youth football and basketball programs.

Left to cherish his memories are his wife of 63 years, Jean Pace Warren, of Spruce Pine; sons, Don Warren Jr., and wife, Debbie, of Simpsonville, South Carolina; Tony Warren, and wife, Cindy, of Simpsonville, South Carolina; Chris Warren, and wife, Debbie, of Conover; Brooks Warren, and wife, Mandy, of Raleigh; Mitchell Warren, and wife, Stephanie, of Spruce Pine; his 11 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

A funeral service celebrating the life of Don Warren was 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, at First Baptist Church of Spruce Pine with Dr. David Vess officiating. A time to support the family, share memories and receive friends was 1-3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, at First Baptist Church of Spruce Pine. Interment followed in the Spruce Pine Memorial Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations are made to Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge, 236 Hospital Drive, Spruce Pine, NC 28777.

The family would also like to extend special “thanks” to the staff of Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge, the staff of the North Carolina State Veteran’s Home in Black Mountain, Mr. Wayne Hall and Mr. Phillip Frye for their outstanding care of Don and support to his wife, Jean, during his illness.

Words of comfort may be emailed to the family by going to, selecting Donald G. Warren’s name and signing his guestbook. Webb Funeral Home of Spruce Pine is assisting the Warren family. Mr. Warren’s obituary has also been posted on Facebook.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616