“The first 50 years are the hardest,” jokes Herbert (Herb) L. Steely on the occasion of his 64th wedding anniversary with the former Betty Jean Roberts. “I also was gone … a lot!” On this note, she laughs too.
Steely, a native of Corbin, Ky., is a retired special agent with the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), prior to the bureau transferring under the Department of Homeland Security. Betty Steely, a native of Laurens, S.C., took care of their two sons while Steely built his career working undercover and largely in the field raiding and breaking moonshine stills throughout the southeastern United States before accepting increasingly complex and challenging leadership positions with the bureau. Steely also retired from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and now enjoys his unique hobby of creating mock-up moonshine still diorama displays.
The Steelys moved to Peachtree City with their son, Brad and daughter-in-law, Becky. Brad, a retired U. S. Navy Commander, recently retired from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Their other son, Chuck, lives with his wife, Toni, in Apex, N.C.
The couple still chats regularly with former agents and friends with whom he worked alongside and with whom they socialized throughout various locations and in Washington, D.C. One former special agent and friend who retired in Hawaii, flies in each year to celebrate Steely’s birthday and it was during that visit that they recently celebrated the Steelys’ 64th anniversary and his 86th birthday at the local Due South restaurant.
The move to Peachtree City was the Steelys’ 26th move during their marriage and they think this might just be “it.” They married at Lake Hartwell in September of 1949 and lived in the Decatur area almost 50 years ago while he finished law school at the Woodrow Wilson School of Law. “There was no I-85 then. We traveled “back roads” wherever we went and our big night out was a trip to The Varsity,” he explains.
The Steelys have three grandchildren and six great grandchildren with a seventh grandchild due any day.