James Larry "Dirt" Steadman

November 25, 1952 ~ May 15, 2023 (age 70) 70 Years Old


James L Steadman,70, passed away surrounded by his loving family on Monday, May 15, 2023. The Man, The Myth, The Legend. He was known to most as “Larry” or “Dirt”. Born the 25th of November, 1952 in his hometown of Westerly, RI. He was the son of the late James Henry and Florence Mae (Tetlow) Steadman. Along with his loving wife Myra; Married just shy of 47 years, he leaves his four daughters; Jamie (Charlie), Jennifer (Dan), Joan (Abraham), Jean (Tim), UD, son in law Jay and his #2.5 daughter Melissa (Ryan & Ryleigh). Grandchildren; Shyann (Damian), Genesis, Sydney, Trent (Kayla), Damian and his great granddaughter Isabel Mae. He is survived by his sister Marjorie, several nieces and nephews and predeceased by his brother John. He was a man of so many skills and kept busy working a multitude of jobs throughout his life. He worked for the Westerly Police Department for “39 years, 4 months”, retiring on May 16th, 2020. He also worked for Autorama, the Westerly Ambulance Corp., the EMA, Civil Defense, Harbormaster and both the Frank Hall and Avondale Boat Yards.

Larry loved traveling to the Outer Banks, NC with his beloved family and many other locations including New York and Key West with closest friends. 

Gone to Carolina; In 1980 a trip was made and thereafter became a tradition. The love of this 'home away from home' spread throughout the entire family. In the early 80’s “The Bus” was built. Larry and his father in law, James (Jim) E. Cowley converted an old school bus and UBS lumber truck into a camper. It had everything, including the kitchen sink. For over 20 years, “The Bus” took the family (and family friends) on many adventures. Traveling numerous places, some becoming part of our yearly trips, including but not limited to Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Hershey Park, and the Wright Brothers Memorial. As always, we ended up in our “Happy Place" Cape Hatteras, North Carolina (The Outer Banks), camping, fishing, collecting seashells and being beach bums. Heads always turned when "The Bus" passed by, with its unique tan paint and bright red nose. After "The Bus" was retired in 2004 we started to rent an ocean front beach house on the Outer Banks. So many memories were created and "The Bus Crew" will forever continue our beloved family tradition with “Dad”, "Dirt", “Gramps” in our hearts. 

Larry loved helping people and volunteering for many town organizations including the Summer Pops, Twelfth Night with the Chorus of Westerly, and so many more. He had many hobbies and friends and was always willing to lend a hand or give advice to anyone in need. If you needed a history lesson, he was the man to ask. Larry also enjoyed dancing, history, tracking hurricanes, NASCAR, football, cooking, telling stories and jokes! He helped anyone in need without question. He also loved playing his bass with the band at the boat yard while also tending "Dirts Tiki Bar" at the summer parties with his beloved Margaritaville mixer “Precious”. During the holidays, his front yard was the house with the love for multiple yard inflatables including so many dinosaurs.  

Larry was a wealth of Knowledge. Having answers to many questions but also keeping many to himself. He always kept his circle small. There are few who knew the real person inside such a rugged and tough exterior. Those who do, know how easy it could be to pull that exterior down. Those who don’t , don’t want to. There’s a way about him that sometimes seems so intimidating. That’s the side you have to get to know before you learn the real person inside of that shell. The selfless, family guy who does everything he does for them. Selfless…. The sensitive man who will cry with you when those moments come along that break you down. The fantastic voice that would love to sing you a song, or play you a bass line as his voice sang through. The gentlemen, as he should be referred to, who would entertain you with stories of raising 4 girls, policing the community, or letting people know to get lost when they deserved it. He would feed you, he would love you, or he would leave you alone. And all of those actions meant a lot. We can go on and on! He will be greatly missed and forever loved by so many of us. 
Forever in our hearts. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Larry’s name to The Chorus of Westerly, The Westerly Ambulance Corp, a charity of your choosing, or a donation to the family to assist with Funeral expenses. 

Calling hours will be held from 4-7pm on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at the Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main St. Westerly, RI 02891. Funeral services will be held at 11:00am Thursday, May 25, 2023 at the funeral home with guests invited to arrive at 10:30am. Burial will follow the service at River Bend Cemetery, Westerly.

For online condolences and a more detailed obituary, please visit


May 24, 2023

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home
121 Main St.
Westerly, RI 02891

May 25, 2023

11:00 AM
Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home
121 Main St.
Westerly, RI 02891


River Bend Cemetery
117 Beach St.
Westerly, RI


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