Harvey Steele, the longtime co-host of Toledo's top-rated morning radio show Shores and Steele on WKKO-FM, 99.9, has died, the radio station confirmed on Facebook Friday. He was 60.
Mr. Steele was taken to Flower Hospital on Saturday, where his blood sugar levels were skyrocketing, said Mr. Steele’s daughter, Kara, who spoke on the morning show Friday with her sister and mother.
Mr. Steele's liver began to fail in 1997 after he unknowingly contracted hepatitis C in a blood transfusion in 1985. He had one liver transplant in 1997, followed by a second transplant a week later at the Cleveland Clinic that saved his life.
Mr. Steele was part of K100 with Gary Shores since 1994, and with Cumulus Media since 1981.
The family thanked the community for their outpouring of support after Mr. Steele’s death. His daughter also thanked Mr. Shores for their contributions to the community.
“It’s hard to quantify the impact he’s had on the community. You guys have just done amazing work,” she said.
In 2016, Mr. Steele received the National Donor Memorial Award for Excellence in Richmond, Va., for his efforts in promoting the cause of organ donation.
The United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, a private nonprofit based in Richmond that manages the nation’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government, established The National Donor Memorial Award for Excellence to honor “unsung heroes who have gone above and beyond in promoting organ donation in their community.”
“I guess I wouldn’t want to think of it as an award,” Mr. Steele told The Blade in June, 2016, “because the true heroes of organ donation are the donors and donor families, people who at the worst time of their life somehow saw through their personal grief and allowed their loved one to save someone else’s life.”
Grateful for two transplants in three days, Mr. Steele began volunteering for the Life Connection of Ohio, the area's non-profit organ procurement organization, as soon as he was able, and later joined with other community services groups and individuals to promote organ donation.
His efforts include dispelling myths about the organ donation process, including that hospitals "pull the plug" on registered donors — "The truth is that organ donation becomes an option only after every lifesaving effort has been made," he said — or that age and medical conditions restrict who can donate.
Mr. Steele’s daughter said Friday a Harvey J. Steele Memorial Fund is being established.
“We do know we want to continue to help people in the community. I’m not exactly sure what that will look like at this point,” she said, adding there will be an aspect related to organ donation.
A celebration of Mr. Steele’s life will be held Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m. at Walker Funeral Home, 5155 W. Sylvania Ave.
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