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Phyllis Lenore Steele was born in Entwistle, Alberta on May 22, 1910. She received her primary education at Fort McLeod and attended high school in Calgary and Lomond. She studied medicine at the University of Alberta, graduating with a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1934.
After completing internships in Edmonton and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Steele began practicing medicine, first in Loon Lake and then in Marquis. Around 1938, she purchased a medical practice in Balcarres, where she converted a house into a 10-bed hospital. An advocate for local hospitals, sanitation and senior citizens' housing, Steele helped establish a modern 28-bed hospital and Parkland Lodge in Balcarres in the 1950s. She also served as a coroner for the Province of Saskatchewan.
Steele also served as a councillor for the Town of Balcarres (1951-1962; 1967-1968). After retiring from medical practice in 1980, she continued to reside in Balcarres. Her autobiography, "The Woman Doctor of Balcarres", was published in 1984. Steele was named Citizen of the Year in Balcarres (1973); named to the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (1985); appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (1987); and awarded an honorary life membership in the Canadian Medical Association. Steele died in Regina on March 26, 1988.
Steele married Charles McLellan in June, 1946 in Lebret, Saskatchewan. Steele had one adopted daughter, Beverly, and several step-children.