Brothers remember father killed in Woodward tornado as a larger-than-life character with a big heart

Dusty and Adonis Peil lost their father, Steve Peil, in Sunday's deadly tornado in Woodward, in northwestern Oklahoma. They said their dad, known by the nickname Mickey Mouse, had a big heart and loved spending time with his grandkids.
BY BRYAN DEAN Published: April 18, 2012

As a football player at Mooreland High School 20 years ago, Dusty Peil always knew when his dad had arrived to watch his games.

Steve Peil would ride up to the stadium on his Harley-Davidson with several of his biker friends, engines roaring, announcing their presence. Those same friends gave Steve Peil the nickname “Mickey Mouse,” and it stuck with him for the rest of his life, which ended Sunday when he was killed by a tornado in Woodward.

“You'd hear the Harley being loud coming up,” Dusty Peil, 38, said. “All my friends have been saying how they remembered that. You knew he was coming. My friends loved him.”

Steve Peil and his wife, Kathe, were caught in their mobile home when an EF3 tornado touched down just after midnight Sunday. Both were critically injured and taken to a hospital in Amarillo, where Steve Peil later died. Kathe Peil is still listed in critical condition but is expected to recover, family members said.

Steve Peil had two sons, Dusty and Adonis Peil, 36.

The past few days have been especially tough on the grandkids on both sides of the family. Adonis' sons are 3 and 13. Going to visit granddad in Woodward was a big deal. The family would stay at a hotel all weekend and swim. Their grandfather's vast collection of Mickey Mouse memorabilia was also a hit.

Adonis Peil said he doesn't know how the family will break the news to Kathe Peil, who remains in a medically induced coma.

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