Don and Muriel Steelman

by Mike Roberts, Church Historian

The names Don and Muriel Steelman are prevalent in the history of our church from the mid 1950s until Muriel’s passing in the early 1990s. Don was a major force in the moving of the church from Essex Place to Salem Acres and Muriel was involved for many years in service aspects of church life, especially in the Clara Barton Guild. The following article about the Steelmans appeared in the October 30, 1972 Cincinnati Post, written by Si Cornell.

“Yesterday, during services at Salem Acres Community Church in Mt. Washington, Mrs. Muriel Frances Steelman was summoned to stand before the congregation.

“Mrs. Steelman, hesitant with surprise, arose to receive a silver plaque. The Rev. Brian Tansey, minister, read its message. ‘This award is presented to Muriel F. Steelman for 25 years of devotion above and beyond the call of love, honor and cherish. With grateful appreciation by her husband, Don, on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary.”

Back in 1947, Muriel was in the news as the pen pal bride from England. She and Don had written to each other for nine years before he airmailed his proposal – and she airmailed her acceptance. Don met her when she stepped off the Queen Mary in New York, and they were married in the Little Church Around the Corner.

‘Our first five years together were something,’ said Don. ‘I had to have two back operations for slipped discs. Muriel broke her leg, had her tonsils out, and went through rheumatism treatments, and then had five operations for cancer. Things have improved since.’

After the church service, Don and a surprised Muriel hosted a cake and coffee party for the congregation.

Don, director of market research for Central Trust, thought back to those nine years when he wrote to Muriel, who worked in the London office of IBM when the business machine firm started there in a barber shop. Would he advise anyone else to woo and win a mate by mail?

‘I’ve never had any regrets,’ he said. ‘But I wouldn’t recommend marriage on a short-term correspondence.’

Image: Muriel Steelman, center, and friends, c. 1985.