Robert Lee Steed obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Robert Lee Steed

November 20, 1936 - June 4, 2016

Obituary


Robert L. “Bob” Steed, renowned lawyer, writer, master of ceremonies and wit, died peacefully at his home in Atlanta on Saturday, June 4, after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 79.

Steed was born in Augusta, Georgia on November 20, 1936 to the late Robert Pentecost Steed and Doris Roop Steed and grew up in Bowdon, Georgia, graduating from Bowdon High School.

Steed graduated from Mercer University in 1958. He received his law degree from Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University in 1961. In 1961-1962, Steed...

Robert L. “Bob” Steed, renowned lawyer, writer, master of ceremonies and wit, died peacefully at his home in Atlanta on Saturday, June 4, after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 79.

Steed was born in Augusta, Georgia on November 20, 1936 to the late Robert Pentecost Steed and Doris Roop Steed and grew up in Bowdon, Georgia, graduating from Bowdon High School.

Steed graduated from Mercer University in 1958. He received his law degree from Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University in 1961. In 1961-1962, Steed served as Law Clerk to Justice Carlton Mobley on the Supreme Court of Georgia. Steed served for two decades as a member of the Mercer Board of Trustees, including one term as chairman, and is only the seventh person elected as a Lifetime Trustee to the school. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mercer University. The lobby of Mercer’s Walter F. George School of Law building is dedicated to and named for him. Former Mercer president Dr. Kirby Godsey said, “No one has ever served the University with more grace and distinction than Bob Steed.”

Steed joined King & Spalding in 1962 and was a partner in the prestigious law firm for more than 50 years. He was a Senior Partner for the firm’s Public Finance Practice Group and served as bond counsel to the State of Georgia and to cities, counties, and governmental authorities throughout the country. Despite being one of the country’s leading bond attorneys, his prodigious intellect, verbal skills and sense of humor could not be constrained by the practice of law. His work as a humor columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group appeared for many years and typically poked fun at anyone who took themselves too seriously. He had several published books, including Willard Lives!, 1981; Lucid Intervals, 1983; Money, Power and Sex (A Self-Help Guide for All Ages), 1985; The Sass Menagerie, 1988; Mail Fraud, The Laughable Letters of Robert L. Steed, 1991; and A Ship without an Udder, 1995. (Mercer University Press and Longstreet Press). Steed’s commentaries were occasionally heard on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered’, and he was much sought after as a featured speaker.

Judge Griffin Bell, former U.S. Attorney General and Steed’s law partner for years, said jokingly that Steed was “half lawyer, half wit – lawyers consider him a writer and writers call him a lawyer.”

Steed’s greatest achievement, however, was his 58-year marriage to Linda “Lu” McElroy Steed, his childhood sweetheart in Bowdon, Georgia, and the family they produced. He lovingly referred to Lu as “101 pounds of grit, gristle and ingratitude” but their lifelong romance was fairytale quality. In addition to Lu, Steed is survived by three children – Joshua Pentecost Steed and daughter-in-law Robbin Conklin Steed of Sharpsburg, Georgia; Georgia Steed Vance and son-in-law James Burton Vance of Atlanta, Georgia; Nona Steed Bickers and son-in-law David Allan Bickers of Atlanta, Georgia; ten grandchildren who adored “Bobby” – Robert Lee Steed, Quanah Parker Steed, Lane Marchant Steed, Salem Micheaux Vance, Wesley Bonner Vance, James Beauregard Vance; Max Steed Bickers, Elijah Bennett Bickers, Robert Lynch Bickers, Edward Steele Bickers and his beloved brother Michael P. Steed and wife Cheryl Steed of Bowdon, Georgia. He was predeceased by his son, Robert Lee Steed, Jr.

The family wishes to extend their sincere and deep gratitude to Leroy Weatherspoon Jr., Jermaine Goodwin, Bill Little and Johnny Daniel of Daniel Companion Nursing for their loving and compassionate care.

Bob and Lu, an award-winning artist, supported artists and writers worldwide by making introductions, recommendations and purchases for themselves and for private and corporate collections. Steed’s tastes and interests were as eclectic as his intellect was wide, and his friends ranged from national political leaders and Hollywood stars to famous musicians and laborers. He was a mentor to many and thrived on the success and happiness of others. Doc Schneider, another former law partner, said of Steed, “He attaches himself to people and makes them bigger than what they are.”

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 11 a.m. at Northside United Methodist Church, Atlanta. A Reception will follow the Memorial Service at the church. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to Mercer University for the Steed Scholarship Fund, 1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, Georgia 31207.