Hopedale Soldier Leaves
For Service in Vietnam
yesterday to advise them that he was leaving immediately for Vietnam Steel is serving in the U.S.
Army as a radio operator. He is a 1966 graduate of Hopedale High School, and attended Westfield
State College for two years prior to entering the service.
Steel is the third member of his family to serve in Vietnam. His brother Alex was discharged from the
U.S. Army in December after three years of service, including a tour in Vietnam. Another brother,
Adam, is completing a three year enlistment in the U.S. Army and will be discharged in September.
Adam's service included a tour in Vietnam also. He is currently stationed in El Paso, Texas. Milford
Daily News, July 3, 1969.
Hopedale Youth Killed in Vietnam
Sgt. Steel, 22
One of 3 Brothers In Asian Conflict
HOPEDALE - Sgt. John A. Steel, 22, one of three brothers who served in the Vietnam War, was killed
in action with the 101st Airborne Division, according to word received here over the weekend by his
parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Steel of 5 Briar Cliff Road.
The Hopedale youth had just been promoted to the rank of sergeant and his unit was on duty in the
demilitarized zone. No details of the tragedy were made available and the family was advised that it
would be at least a week before burial arrangements could be made.
Sgt. Steel was the youngest son on the couple to serve in Vietnam. His brothers, Alex and Adam, are
also veterans of the Asian conflict. A year ago Christmas, the Steel couple had enjoyed the first
Christmas in many years observing the holiday with their three sons at home with them. Each year
before that, one of their sons was away on a tour of duty.
Sgt. Steel had been on duty in Vietnam since August of last year and was due to return home to the
United States the latter part of this July. He would have completed two years of service at that time.
Sgt. Steel was born in Scotland on Oct. 7, 1947. He and his family came to this country 16 years ago
from Canada, where they had resided for five years, arriving there from Scotland. John had become a
citizen of this country two and one-half years ago. He attended the Hopedale schools and graduated
from Hopedale High School with the Class of 1966. He then attended Westfield College for two years,
prior to entering the Army. He was a member of the Union Church.
Sgt. Steel underwent training at Fort Gordon, Ga.; Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and Fort Sill, Oklahoma, prior
to departing for the Vietnam tour of duty. Saturday, the family received notification of the death of their
son from the Army Chaplain at Fort Devens. The death was confirmed in a telegram received by them
Easter Sunday from the Department of the Army. The family was advised that it would be at least a
week or ten days before final arrangements could be made for the burial of their son. The funeral will
be in charge of John Boyer of Sargeant's Funeral Home in Milford, with services in Union Church,
In addition to his parents, Sgt. Steel is survived by his two brothers, Alex and Adam of Hopedale and
an aunt and uncle who reside in Canada. He also leaves several other relatives in Scotland.
Sgt. Steel is the second Hopedale man to die in Vietnam. Douglas D'Orsay was killed in 1965 in a
bombing. The total of local area deaths is now 16 in the Milford area. Milford Daily News, 1970.
Military Rites for Hopedale
Soldier Who Died in Vietnam
HOPEDALE - The funeral of Army Sgt. John A. Steel of Hopedale killed in action in the DMZ in Vietnam
was held with full military honors Saturday afternoon, from the Sargeant Funeral Home in Milford,
followed by services in Union Evangelical Church in Hopedale.
Rev. John Simpson, pastor, conducted the service and said prayers at the grave in Hopedale Village
Cemetery. Susan Maloney was organist.
Veterans' organizations attended and included Henry L. Cyr, past state commander of the VFW,
Benjamin J. Phillips, commander of the Hopedale VFW post and post members. Also Comdr.
William O'Reilly and members of Walter Tillotson, American Legion post and Flanders Post,
Canadian Legion. The Royal Canadian Legion was represented by Past State Comdr. Seymour
Representing the town of Hopedale were selectmen Carlo Bresciani, William B. Gannett and Richard
Moore, and Postmaster John Bresciani. School representatives attending were Supt. of Schools
Donald S. Dow and Sewell M. Drisko, former principal of Hopedale High School.
At the graveside service, "The Lament" was played by Pipe Major James Care of the Worcester Pipe
Band. The flag was presented to Mr. and Mrs. John Steel by Major Walkinsky, Worcester Area Reserve
Army Advisor. The rifle detail came from Fort Devens.
Coming to attend the funeral of their nephew was Andrew Sommervolle, of Lenark, Scotland and Mr.
and Mrs. James Mullet of Toronto, Canada.
Sgt. Steel was killed while serving with the 101st Airborne Division. He had been in Vietnam since
last August and was due to return to the U.S. in early July. Milford Daily News, April 6, 1970.
War Veterans' Menu HOME
John Steel's picture from Stu Dunlap's
1966 Hopedale High yearbook.
Thanks to Mike Cyr for sending the Vietnam Wall
rubbing, the links, and the other two items above.
Hopedale Village Cemetery