Jean Byrd Steelman of Accomac

December 27, 2023

Mrs. Jean Byrd Steelman, 89, of Accomac, VA, wife of the late John David Steelman II, passed away peacefully at the home of her daughter, Elizabeth, on Wednesday, December 13, 2023. Born on April 15, 1934, in Belle Haven, VA, she was the daughter of the late Charles Lilliston Byrd and Elizabeth Turner Byrd.

Affectionately known as “Miss Jean” to generations of children on the Eastern Shore, she was a dearly loved icon of our community who owned and operated Belle Croft preschool and kindergarten in Accomac, VA. She was a long-standing member of Market Street Methodist Church. Miss Jean was an accomplished seamstress, sewing a variety of sought-after items, which she sold at craft shows all over the East Coast. A proud alumna of Mary Washington College, she served her community as a teacher and mentor of children for more than 60 years. The Belle Croft business was sold in 2021, however Miss Jean remained active in the school and continued to live in her home, and place of business, until November of 2023. Over the years, she and her husband, David, took occasional jaunts to Florida where they enjoyed actively maintaining their properties and visiting local flea markets.

Jean is survived by her children, John David Steelman III of Franktown, VA, Elizabeth Steelman Perry (Bryan) of Cashville, VA, and Michael Emory Steelman (Dawn) of Cheriton, VA; eight grandchildren, Shane Steelman (Jessica), Nikki C. Pruitt (Matt), Sutton Perry (Shannon), Sarah Beth Hamilton (Adam), Shannon Miller (James), Heather Burkhead (Daryl), Laura Page Parks (Brandon), Michael E. Steelman (Karen); nieces and nephews, Peggy Ames Parks, Ruth Ames Soccio, Charles Phillip Ames, Paige Ames, Cheryl C. Conrow, Andrew Brown, Betsy B. Jourdan, and Krista Shepard; and 17 great-grandchildren.

Other than her parents and beloved husband of 65 years, Jean was preceded in death by sisters, Mary Elizabeth Croom and Nancy Brown; brother-in-law, Andrew Brown; and niece, Carol Page Brown.

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A service in celebration of Jean’s life and legacy will be held at Market Street Methodist Church, in Onancock, VA, on Saturday, December 30, 2023 at 1:00 p.m., with a reception immediately following the service in the church social hall. Private interment will be held at the Cape Charles Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in memory of Jean Steelman to the ESCC Foundation, 29300 Lankford Highway, Melfa, VA 23410 (, which will be earmarked to support future educators. 

Memory tributes may be shared with the family at

Arrangements by the Williams-Parksley Funeral Home.

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