Frederick Steele Blackall III

Frederick Steele Blackall III

Frederick Steele Blackall III, 91, of Westport, Mass., and Jupiter, Fla., passed away quietly in his sleep at the Palm Beach Gardens Florida Medical Center on April 18, 2017.

“Steele” was born in Providence, R.I., on June 25, 1925 to parents Frederick Steele Blackall Jr. and Hazel (White) Blackall. He married Patricia Louise Hancock of Arlington, Mass., on June 21, 1947. Patricia lived from Jan. 12, 1924 to Oct. 20, 2002. He is survived by his only sibling, sister Marilyn (Blackall) Wheeler of Wellington, Fla., and Harwich Port, Mass.

Professionally, Steele was a manufacturing executive. He spent most of his career with Taft-Peirce Manufacturing Company in Woonsocket and Cumberland, R.I., where he rose to president and treasurer and ultimately chairman during his tenure from 1949 to 1986. He also co-founded and served as president of Quest for Excellence of Providence, R.I.

Community wise, Steele was generous with his service, his personal time, and financial support for many important efforts: An Army veteran from World War II; Trustee Landmark Medical Center, Ballou Home; Board of Directors United Way Eastern New England; Yale Science and Engineering Association Executive Council, Association of Yale Alumni Board of Governors; Harvard Business School Association of Southeastern New England President; Providence Building Board of Review; Board of Roger Williams University. Many also knew Steele through his Providence based East Side Monthly wine article where his practical, economical advice helped make wine more accessible to everyone in the community.

Educationally, Steele believed unconditionally in his alma mater Yale where he earned a BS in Engineering in the “War” class of 1945W. He also held Harvard in high esteem, where he received an MBA in 1949. Although that esteem stopped at “The Game” (the Yale/Harvard annual football contest), where the Bulldogs got every molecule of his loyalty. In fact, Steele broke the all-time Yale/Harvard game attendance with 80 games, as recognized on national TV in last November’s match. In a wonderful cadence to his long attendance, last November, Yale won 21 to 14 in a thrilling fourth quarter.

It was as a family man where Steele will be most remembered. His family tree includes three children and their spouses, plus six grandchildren and six great grandchildren, spread from Maine to Florida, west to Chicago, and east to England.

Steele’s oldest, Frederick S. Blackall IV (“Rick”) married Shirley (Merk) Blackall of Westport, Mass., and Jupiter, Fla., has one son, Frederick Steele Blackall V (“Fred), living in South Carolina. Steele’s second child, Holly (Blackall) Applegate married William M. Applegate and lives in Providence, R.I., and has three children: Burgundy Applegate married Ross Birkbeck and lives in London, England, with three children, Lark, Reed, and Steele; Austin Applegate married Laura (Turick) Applegate and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with one daughter Stella; Brecken (Applegate) Schneider married Joshua Schneider and lives in Franklin, Mass., with two children Benjamin and Quinn. Steele’s third child, Grenville (“Gren”) Blackall married Joyce (Maker) Blackall and lives in Addison, Maine, and has two children: Whitaker (Blackall) Trebella married Dana (Tesser) Trebella and lives in Chicago, Ill.; Stoddard Blackall lives in NYC.

Steele was a traditional business leader, but shined more in his private life as an unconventional, highly creative, poem and wine article writing, jazz drumming, mathematics wizard kind of guy who created a constantly changing, intriguing experience for all around him. He loved his wife, Patricia, with such passion that he set an example for his family and anyone who spent time with the fascinating couple.

Steele will be missed by the many people he influenced throughout his life. His iconic style and distinctive “Steele-ness” will remain in the hearts of all those he left behind.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, April 29, at 10 a.m., at the Historic Chapel at Swan Point Cemetery, 585 Blackstone Blvd, Providence, R.I. There will be a reception following the service at Gray Coale Reception Hall adjacent to the chapel. For those interested in wearing a bow tie to the service as a tribute to Steele, feel free, men and women.

Instead of flowers, we encourage you to make a donation to the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation ( or the Rhode Island Foundation (