Bobby Steele died on Friday, May 24th, in Amarillo, Texas, from complications from COPD at age 65. He was born in Amarillo on April 2, 1954 at St. Anthony’s Hospital. A 1972 graduate of Tascosa High School, Bobby continued his education at West Texas State University. He graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics. While working as a teaching assistant at WT, he achieved a Master of Science Degree in Mathematics. It was during this time that Bobby met Paula Dillavou, who was also a student. They married at the Joseph A. Hill Chapel on the WT Campus on June 12, 1981. Bobby and Paula spent a good part of their 38 years of marriage traveling the world together. They were also very involved in local civic activities which included the Amarillo Symphony, Lone Star Ballet and Amarillo Botanical Gardens.
He was a mainstay in the Amarillo Parks and Recreation Department’s slow-pitch softball and basketball programs for over four decades, competing under the Shakey’s Pizza sponsor label during much of that period. Bobby was a pioneer in the structured settlement annuity industry since 1978. He began the program at Western National Life Insurance Company in Amarillo, one of the first life insurance companies to specialize in issuing structured settlement annuities, culminating with the company being a dominant market leader for most of the 2000s. It is an industry populated by marvelous individuals which he loved, and he was beloved in return. He spearheaded the unit through four acquisitions before the company was ultimately acquired by AIG in August 2001.
He was a Founding Member of the National Structured Settlements Trade Association (NSSTA) in Washington, DC in 1985. It is a trade association which represents nearly 1,200 licensed consultants, attorneys, insurance companies, and other professionals who work with personal injury accident survivors and their dependents in litigation settlements to position their financial recoveries. Bobby served on the organization’s Board of Directors.
In addition, he has served as an expert witness by providing annuity testimony at legal trials for more than thirty years throughout the United States. His experience in the structured settlement industry, along with his mathematics education and actuarial experience, uniquely qualified him to serve in the role of an annuitist.
Bobby and Paula were members of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church. He is preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Mary Steele. He is survived by his wife, Paula, his sisters, Sister Mary Ana Steele of St. Francis in Panhandle, Texas and Cindy (Steve) Steele Lopez of Houston, a brother J.P. (Robin) and a niece and nephew, Lauren Steele and Ryan Steele of Amarillo.
A Rosary service will be held on Tuesday, May 28th, at 6:00pm at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church follow by a funeral ceremony the following morning at 10:00am, at St. Thomas as well.
Memorials may be made to St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church or to the Lone Star Ballet of Amarillo.