Obituary of Steven Rayford Prioleau
Steven Rayford Prioleau, affectionately referred to as “Coach Steve” and “Uncle Steve” by many, was born November 19, 1961 in Detroit, Michigan to Rudolph and Elsie Prioleau. Steven was the youngest of four children and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior at a young age at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan.
Steven completed his early childhood education at Brady Elementary School, Durfee Junior High School, and then attended St. Martin De Porres High School all in Detroit, Michigan. He went on to pursue higher education at Golden Valley Lutheran College (Minnesota) and Utica College of Syracuse University (New York), enjoying the privilege of playing college basketball under NBA coaches Flip Saunders and Larry Costello, respectively.
Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Steven went on to pursue a 13-year career as Childcare Worker and Unit Supervisor at St. Joseph’s Home for Children before dedicating the next 25 years to being a Juvenile Probation Officer for Dakota County in Minnesota. Steven retired in 2022 at the age of 61 years old.
In his “free” time, Steven enjoyed being with family (especially his grandchildren), coaching SUGAA/MLK girls’ basketball with his wife (Lori), volunteering at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center’s food shelf, frequenting movie premieres, daily morning phone calls with his children (Dee and James), following the athletic careers of his former players, and yelling at the Detroit Lions on TV before speaking with his mother every Sunday at exactly 5:00 p.m.
Steven had an infectious smile and laugh that could be recognized from across the room. It didn’t matter if you were a childhood friend or a random shopper in the grocery store; Steven had the unique ability of being able to strike up and sustain a conversation with ANYONE. He was always good for a joke or wisecrack and, more importantly, giving sound sage advice to anyone in need of it. Over the years, Steven took under his wing and “played father” to no shortage of the people who had the fortune of falling into his inner-circle. During times of hardship, Steven would be there at the drop of a dime to provide support, encouraging words, and a presence so strong that anyone around him couldn’t help but feel uplifted.
On Friday, October 27, 2023, Steven went on to join his father and brother in Heaven above.
Steven is survived by his mother: Elsie Prioleau; wife: Lori Prioleau; two children: DeJurnett Buford (Teron), James Prioleau (Lauren), four grandchildren: Derrick Buford, Jordyn Buford, Everett Prioleau, Rowan Prioleau; one brother: Ronald Prioleau (Barbara); one sister: Rosalyn Sykes (London); three nieces: Latisha Prioleau, Sharonda Prioleau, Pria Sykes; three nephews: Micah Prioleau, Ronald Epps (Kenukie), LaDarian Prioleau (Tanicia); Godson: Pesante Westlund; long-time surrogate sister: Kelly Woods; mother-in-law: Nancy Thomas; four sisters in law: Mildred Prioleau, Brenda Westlund, Heidi Winters (Eric), Patti Thomas (Joseph), two brothers-in-law: Miles Westlund, Bruce Westlund (Cindy); and a multitude of beloved nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, friends, and former players & colleagues.
Steven was preceded in death by his father: Rudolph Prioleau; brother: Michael Prioleau; father-in-law: James Thomas; and brother-in-law: Terry Westlund.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Steven Prioleau, please visit Tribute Store