SUN CITY WEST, Ariz. — Robert Raymond Neill was born September 14, 1928 and died April 4, 2017 of diabetes-related medical causes. He was 88 years old.
He was born near Ottawa, to Ora Joseph Neill and Vera Mae (Polsdorfer) Neill. After attending a one-room schoolhouse, he graduated high school and attended Ohio State University. Shortly thereafter, he met Nancy Donaldson (Stuart) Neill on a blind date. They married on Feb 28, 1953 and began a committed life together that spanned nearly 62 years. Nancy preceded him in death in January 2015.
Bob grew up on a farm and remembers the days of horse-drawn plows and amazing innovations such as indoor plumbing and electricity. His childhood memories are of growing up on a depression-era farm. Kids of that time were expected to work and contribute to the family’s welfare. Bob carried that same sense of dedication to family for the rest of his life. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He expected little to nothing from others, but got his greatest happiness from giving and helping others.
Early in their marriage, Bob drove a big rig for North American Van Lines. It was on these cross-country trips that he first saw and was captivated by the desert Southwest. After that, Bob worked for most of his life for Cities Service Oil Company (CITGO) in a variety of capacities in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Toledo, Ohio. He retired in 1985 and he and Nancy relocated to Sun City West, Arizona, fulfilling that long-cherished dream of a life in the desert Southwest. Upon retirement, Bob pursued his love of the outdoors through hiking.
In addition to state and National Parks, he loved discovering places off the beaten path, especially through Arizona and Utah. He shared his passion for the outdoors by leading the Sun City West hiking club for a number of years. His famous phrase, often repeated by the members of the group was “Follow Me!” The other activity that he loved was playing bridge. He played not just for the enjoyment of the game, but for the friendships he developed and maintained with his bridge buddies. He often gave rides to the men who could no longer drive and kept up with what was going on their lives.
Bob is survived by his children, Jim and Stephanie Neill of Tampa, Florida, Judy Mechels and Kay Brunson of Surprise, Arizona, Kathy Hagler of Midland, Texas and Susan Bacon of Lancaster, Texas. He is also survived by grandchildren Stuart Neill, Jason Neill, Joe Neill, Kevin Mechels, Brandon Hurley, Audrey Hagler, Lilly Hagler, Katy Hagler, Tara Willenburg & Elisa Willenburg. He is also survived by sister-in-law, Doris (Dee) Stuart and nephews John Neill and Sam Neill.
Bob’s greatest legacy lives on the lessons of hard work, faithful commitment, selfless living and generosity to others that he exemplified his whole life. We will miss him.
According to his wishes, a private memorial service will be held in August. He requested that his ashes be scattered at Toroweap overlook, at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Of all the places he had visited during his many years of travel, this was his favorite.
The family requests that any memorials be given to the Sun City West Foundation.