Lee Steelman is being remembered in San Clemente this week as a soft-spoken activist with a big heart.
Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, June 24 for Steelman, a community volunteer who worked for decades with nonprofits to help people who didn’t have the same resources as most in San Clemente.
Steelman, a co-founder of the South Orange County Community Services Council in 1979, died at her San Clemente home on June 10 at age 91.
She became perhaps best known for SOCCSC, or “Socks,” as it commonly was known, an organization that she and other activists established to help connect needy people with services available in the area.
She also helped establish Laura’s House, a shelter for battered spouses, and Mary Erickson Community Housing, a nonprofit that promotes and operates affordable housing. She was a founder of Serra Preschool, a cooperative. She was a driving force behind a San Clemente Task Force for Youth, and she was a founding member of San Clemente’s Human Affairs Committee, established by the city in 1988 to identify social needs and seek solutions.
Steelman was active on the committee until 2010, through 11 consecutive two-year appointments by the City Council. She was active for decades on a multitude of community-awareness issues with the League of Women Voters. She was a member of the city’s Housing and Community Development Committee, was part of a Human Services Task Force and worked on a steering committee to help establish Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens.
In 1996 the City Council honored her on San Clemente’s Wall of Recognition, naming her the seventh person exemplified on a wall of plaques that today salutes 37 notables.
At a 2005 meeting, when the City Council again recognized Steelman’s contributions, the audience gave her a standing ovation. In response, she recalled the first time she had attended a San Clemente City Council meeting while trying to organize a…