Todd Harold Steele, 48, our beloved husband and father, cherished son and brother, loving uncle and faithful friend, passed away Saturday, October 7th 2023 outside his home in Newark, VT. Todd was born August 21, 1975 in Union, WV the night The Statler Brothers played the County Fair. The son of Robert Charles Dowdy and Helena Jessie Steele, he grew up in both Lebanon, VA and Saratoga, CA and graduated from Saratoga High School in 1993 where he proudly played varsity water polo.
Todd started his life-long culinary career at age 14. Working his way up over the years from dishwasher to line cook to sous chef to chef, building his huge community of industry friends and wine knowledge along the way. He spent his front-of-the-house days in San Francisco at Postrio and Farallon.
Todd was living in the Mission in San Francisco when he met his wife Jen on Thanksgiving Day 2004, and won her over with his Butternut Squash Soup. Less than a year later they moved into their first home together in San Francisco's Bernal Heights. In the spring of 2006, they eloped at City Hall, and welcomed their beautiful daughter Clio later that fall.
In 2007, Todd and his girls moved to the Willamette Valley in Oregon where he pursued his dream of owning his own restaurant. A year later, their marriage was witnessed and celebrated in front of family and friends overlooking the Guadalupe Vineyards in the Dundee Hills on the summer solstice. In 2009, Todd’s restaurant, Metrovino, opened in Portland and became an award-winning restaurant with over 100 wines on tap (Todd could tell you the details of each and every one). Five days after the restaurant opened, they welcomed their son Ezra into the world.
Life adventures brought Todd and his family back to California where he often spent time at Point Isabel with his constant companion, Prince, or fishing salmon and sturgeon in the San Francisco Bay with his kids. Muir Beach was a family favorite, as was taking the kids to his old haunts in the Mission for burritos the size of their arms. It is an understatement to say that Todd was a tried and true 49ers fan, so he of course took his son to his first game at Levi Stadium against the Cardinals.
In 2018, Todd and his family left California, needing to be closer to Jen's family on the east coast. And so, after an epic cross-country road adventure with their plethora of pets, the Steele family landed in Vermont. They found their sanctuary (christened “An Didian” by Todd) in Newark. Todd immediately fell in love with Vermont. He had his land to hunt, his ponds to stock and fish, his trails to walk his canine companions, Prince, Fairbanks and Lottie, his pastures to mow, his chickens to tend, his barn, his tractor and peace. As always, Todd easily made new friends and settled into his Northeast Kingdom community as if he had lived there for a long time, declaring it his “forever place”.
Todd was a Renaissance Man, a Family Man, an Idea Man, a Master Tinkerer. He could build or fix anything. He had widely diverse interests. Food and wine (he could cook anything), fishing (not always catching), music, cars, and football filled his life with happiness. He was constantly reading and researching and soaking up knowledge. It is why he has so many friends. He was eager to talk to anyone about anything and always checked in and stayed in touch.
Todd had a huge heart and was an incredibly devoted Dad and his kids will forever be his absolute pride and purpose and ultimate joy.
Todd is survived by his adoring wife Jen and their children Clio and Ezra, his father Charley (Sherry Dowdy), his mother Helena (Hooman Soratpour), his sisters Claire, Cortnee (Hunter) and Whitney (Erik). He is deeply missed by his siblings-in-law, John, Tim, Kevin, Stephanie (2019), Shivika and Christine, and his mother-in-law Ginger and father-in-law John (2019). He loved his nieces and nephews with all his heart. He will forever be missed by his aunts, uncles, and many many many friends.
The family would like to thank their invaluable friends and community for the outpouring of support and the Newark Volunteer Fire Department.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in support of the family at GoFundMe: https://gofund.me/3702040b. Proceeds will be used to support the family in this time of need and for the kids’ aspirations with their schooling, sports, and other life interests.
Details concerning a celebration of life will be shared at a later date.
"Now I won't be back 'til later on, if I do come back at all. But you know me, and I miss you now." - Neil Young
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at saylesfh.com