Stephen LeRoy Peel, 65, of Mesa, peacefully passed away on January 23rd, 2023.
Steve was born in American Fork, Utah, on October 28th, 1957, the second child of LeRoy and LaRae Peel. At five years old, he was one of the first to receive open-heart surgery and was active for the rest of his life. He graduated from Westwood High in 1976, and went on to study geology at Brigham Young University, and forestry at Oregon State and the University of Montana, where he earned his master’s degree while developing the school’s long-distance learning program. He was proud to be a Wilderness guard, which included taking pictures of the parks for documentation and preserving the wilderness by teaching proper etiquette and packing out trash left behind. He spread his love of the outdoors to everyone around him, especially his children. He loved the mountains of Montana but returned home to Arizona at the end of 2003 to be closer to family. Steve loved to make care packages for faraway family members; he shared his love through his generosity, not only with gifts but with his time. He knew a lot about a lot and loved to teach. With Steve, it wasn’t unusual for a one-hour hike to last four hours, or for everybody with him to return with pockets full of rocks.
He served the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faithfully for many years, including a mission to Uruguay, and made lasting friends through his service.
Steve is survived by his three children, Lex Peel, Kati Keel (Bryce), and Niki Stark (Bailey), six grandchildren, one brother, and three sisters, as well as beloved cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, LaRae Peel, and his father, LeRoy.
Family and friends are invited to funeral services, which will be held February 11, 2023. 2265 S. Hawes Rd. Mesa, Arizona at 10:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the National Park Foundation, as he spent much of his time in various national parks and was a firm believer in making nature accessible to everyone.