Obituary: Lynda Kay Steele

Posted at 11:00 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 13:00:50-05

Lynda Kay Steele was a smart, sassy statistician who passed away on January 1, 2022. She was born into a family (parents, Bill and Ruth, and brother, Butch) who loved, encouraged, and supported each other. Their work ethic was solid, and they were active community members. They expected her to go to college, so she worked diligently in high school to make college possible. Graduating as one of the top students in her class at Bozeman Senior High prepared her to go on to MSU for an undergraduate degree in mathematics and an advanced degree in statistics. She used those skills while working for the Energy Division of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and as an instructor of statistics at MSU. She also edited many statistics texts, working every single problem to ensure accuracy.

Lynda cultivated a group of friends from every level who remained steadfast friends throughout her life. She met Ed Litle in elementary school. He would drive her to monthly dinners, (decades of monthly dinners!), of people Lynda called the "gang" and they would chat on the phone almost daily. Starting in middle school she would have a group of girlfriends who had sleepovers, built German Club floats for the Homecoming Parades, led Pep Club activities, cheered for the Hawks, and listened to Neil Diamond. After college a group of four of them backpacked around Europe, taking in all the cultural things possible because they were all inquisitive, friendly, and adventurous young women. Having no in-laws, nieces, or nephews meant that she "adopted" people along the way...two little girls from her condo and boys who were friends' grandchildren became recipients of candy, gifts, time, and cards from Lynda. Her friends were also reciprocal in their love of Lynda. The informal alumni group who met together monthly were the same ones who tended to her needs at the end of her life, and the ones who already miss her dearly, along with her family. For someone who was single her entire life, Lynda was surrounded by family and friends.

Lynda had definite likes and dislikes and wasn't afraid to make them known! She hated bad drivers, plaid, mornings, and right-wing politics. She loved beagles, birds, history, Hamilton, and cars. A Mustang for her 16th birthday was just the beginning of a series of cars that her dad would choose for her and would maintain because he was a whiz at mechanics.

Lynda is preceded in death by her parents, Bill and Ruth; brother, Butch; an aunt; and five uncles. She is survived by extended family and her dear friends.

Services will be held at a later date, but donations can be made to Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, 1549 East Cameron Bridge Road, Bozeman, MT 59718, in honor of Lynda.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []