The Canal Winchester Times

City leaders recall Steube's no-nonsense style

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Family and friends, along with Canal Winchester residents and civic and business leaders, came together recently to honor Frances Steube, an iconic figure in town who was "without peer."

Steube, 91, died April 11 at Mount Carmel East Hospital.

She was born Aug. 6, 1922, and raised in Franklin County, near Groveport. She graduated from Groveport High School in 1940 and spent the last 50 years of her life in Canal Winchester.

Many local residents first encountered Steube in her role as a teacher: She spent 30 years teaching in Mechanicsburg, Groveport Madison and Canal Winchester.

However, she is most often remembered for her broader service to the community.

"I first got to know Mrs. Steube when I was in high school at Canal Winchester and she was as a substitute teacher," Canal Winchester Mayor Michael Ebert said. "She was a very stern and serious educator and didn't take anything from anybody, so she was always respected by the students.

"I really never had the opportunity to work with her when she served as the first female village council member, but she was just as respected in that capacity as well," he said. "Mrs. Steube was a one-of-a-kind person and will be missed."

Canal Winchester's Frances Steube Community Center was named for her.

During her 90th birthday party held at the center, Steube said she received that honor because, "I've done a lot; that's the reason they named the building after me."

Destination: Canal Winchester Executive Director and longtime historic preservation volunteer Bruce Jarvis said Steube was "a community treasure."

"As a local historian and preservationist, she was without peer," Jarvis said. "I cannot think of any single other person who did more to promote and protect Canal Winchester's heritage than Mrs. Steube.

"Her contributions are going to be felt by our city for a very long time and we were extremely fortunate to have her as a part of our lives for as long as we all did."

Steube is credited with co-founding the Canal Winchester Historical Society, through which she helped to save and preserve several iconic structures, including the Dietz Road Covered Bridge, the O.P. Chaney Mill and the original Canal Winchester High School.

She also was instrumental in starting the city's Landmarks Commission, which is responsible for maintaining the historic character of Canal Winchester.

In her role as historic preservationist, Steube co-authored a book with Lillian Carroll: Canal Winchester, Ohio: the Second Ninety Years.

Steube once mentioned she considered this as one of her most noteworthy accomplishments.

City Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon said Steube's strong personality and determination were what helped her to accomplish so much.

"Frances Steube's passing is a milestone for the Canal Winchester community," Mershon said.

"She served on village council for 16 years, and when the men on council said something couldn't be done, Frances got it done. And that's exactly how the community center got built.

"Frances researched and personally wrote the grants that funded that project," Mershon added. "She loved Canal Winchester and was our biggest supporter.

"I only hope there are more Frances Steubes out there in our city, ready to take her place."

Steube was preceded in death by her husband, Roy; parents Ralph and Ruth Stir; her siblings, Burdell (George) Coon, Margaret (Jim) White, Clara (Harvey) Spence and Ralph Stir Jr.

Survivors include her son, Philip; daughter-in-law, Jennifer; grandchildren, Tyler, Curtis and Angela; nieces, nephews and cousins.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Steube Scholar Fund, in care of David Lutheran Church, 300 Groveport Pike, Canal Winchester, Ohio 43110.

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