Gail Steele, long-time Alameda County supervisor, advocate for children, dies

Gail Steele, one of the legends of Alameda County politics, died on Friday morning.

Steele represented the Hayward and parts of Tri-Cities on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors from 1992-2010. She also served eight years on the Hayward City Council from 1974-1982.

During her long political career, Steele was a consistent advocate for the youth, including at-risk children and those in foster care. She also pushed to expand mental health services for young people.

In between Steele’s service in local government, she founded the Eden Youth Center in 1976 and served as its executive director until 1992.

News of Steele’s death signaled an outpouring of praise for her life.

“Hayward has lost a legend,” Hayward Councilmember Sara Lamnin wrote on Facebook. “Gail Steele fought for our children. Made sure we never forgot those lost to violence. Advocated for all health services. Empowered community collaboration & much more. She loved her family & was a friend to so many of us. May her memory be for a blessing.”

“One of the ‘old growth redwoods,’ Supervisor Gail Steele, has fallen in our forest,” wrote Arlene Nehring, senior minister at Eden United Church of Christ in Hayward. “May she Rest In Peace and Power. May her memory be a blessing. And, may God give us strength to rise up like ‘a ring of angels’ around the place where she took root.”

After announcing her retirement in 2010, Steele’s opinion on county and local matters remained valuable to a stable of current and up-and-coming elected officials.

For a brief moment, the pull of public service almost brought Steele back to the Board of Supervisors in 2012 in the aftermath of Nadia Lockyer’s abrupt resignation from the District 2 seat she once held.

Some viewed her possible appointment as a place-holder until voters could select a new supervisor in two years. Steele, though, eventually pulled her name from consideration. Current Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle was later selected by the board.


10 thoughts on “Gail Steele, long-time Alameda County supervisor, advocate for children, dies

  1. Ms. Steele was the best and greatest, caring human being I’ve ever meet in my life. It was my honor to know Ms. Steele. She stood up to wrong doing and injustice for people like me, took time to listen and look and facts and not hearsay. She once said, the courts gets things wrong. You will truly be missed, and I love you for everything you have done and supported me in my time of need. Walked side by side with me and I will forever and always Love You!! Rest In Power!!!


  2. The Rotary Club of Hayward sends their condolences. Gail was a friend to all and she exemplified the ideas of Rotary.
    We will miss seeing her in and out about in the community.


  3. I worked with Gail on the Children who have died of Violence project from its onset til a little after Gail retired. Her commitment to the children who died to make sure they were not forgotten and for their families was So deep and she poured her heart and soul into it. Her dedication to mental health and the community’s health and welfare was monumental. I am grateful to have worked alongside her on this and other issues. Rest In Peace Gail. Job well done.

    Tisha Kenny
    Former Executive Director
    Health & Human Resource Education Center


  4. Rest in peace woman of steel. You always fought the good fight. Even when others stood in your way you carried on in what you felt was right. Heaven is going to have their hands full with you and the children will surround you. Your spirt and determination will be missed.


  5. …never met anyone so clear and transparent in her responsibilities as public servant. Her determination to change the human condition was unshakable. Her style was anchored by profound love for children a lived the pain of families whose children had been murdered. Fragile in her physical being but stronger in principleS. She gave and gave in spite of mediocre criticisms. She was giving to extremes and showed strong leadership even when defending the vulnerable like a female Don quixote … I’M ALREADY MISSING HER LOVE FOR THE WORLD!


  6. A true pioneer for social justice. Thank you for your years of service. The Eden Youth & Family Center has changed many lives, including mine. RIP Gaile.


  7. she was so hard working , so dedicated to those who needed help and couldn’t get it anyplace else. I volunteered in her office for years, and was always impressed. She could stand up to anybody. I will miss her a lot. pat kite


  8. I worked for you for almost 11 years. It was a pleasure, except for the dog in the office. That’s another story!

    You were one of a kind, and you indeed will be missed.

    RIP, dear lady. May your memory be a blessing.

    Mark S. Weinberger


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