Hardworking, active and honest were just a few ways to describe the characteristics of a great man like Richard "Dick" McNeal. A man that would do whatever it took to provide for his family, including working 15 hour days, he cherished his family. He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed teasing his grandchildren and others.
The Boulder Dam, later renamed the Hoover Dam, was completed in 1936. That same year, the Rural Electrification Act became law, bringing electricity to the more remote parts of the country, the inarguably flight of the Hindenburg was made, Gone with the Wind was published and Billboard Magazine published their first pop music chart. The year marked the births of actors Michael Landon, Mary Tyler Moore, Robert Redford and Burt Reynolds, puppeteer and cartoonist Jim Henson, musicians Glen Campbell, Roy Orbison and Charlie Daniels and U.S. Senator John McCain. On May 16, 1936, Ralph A. and Rachel L. (Schlotterback) McNeal would welcome their son, Richard Lee McNeal into their hearts and home as he was born at his grandparents' home in Noble County, Indiana.
He grew up in Merriam and enjoyed roller skating with friends and fishing with his grandma and brother. He graduated from Wolf Lake High School with the Class of 1954. In his teenage years, he and his childhood friend, Les "Pete" would go hunting and also go to the race track together. At the track they started helping out as a crew members for Buck Beezley and this helped lead him into a passion for racing himself and would go on to race himself. On one day at the track, a young girl caught his attention and he had to meet her. Violet Snepp was there with Pete's girlfriend and the two soon started dating. With the love and passion to spend the rest of their lives together, the couple married three years later, not long after Violet turned 18. On August 21, 1959 they were married at Collamer Congregational Church. After the birth of their first born child, Renee, Richard, who was a member of the Indiana Air National Guard was called to active duty for the U.S. Air Force in October of 1961. Upon being discharged as a Staff Sargent, they would expand their family two more times to include Janelle and Victor.
Richard worked a few jobs earlier in his career, including owning M&M sales, a Wheel Horse dealership for 9 years, until 1976. He was proud to be one of the top two dealers in Indiana for the company. For 26 years, he was a truck driver for Food Marketing/Super Value from which he enjoyed an early retirement in November of 1987. He also worked for Lee's Outdoor Power and Commodore Homes of Indiana and after 12 years, finally retired in 2003.
The family camped together and took many vacations each year traveling to states out west, including almost all of the states except California. They visited many state parks including Yellow Stone and one summer they camped at each state park in Indiana. After Richard and Violet retired, they even attempted a winter down in Golf Shores, Alabama but they missed their family and decided to make their trips shorter. The couple enjoyed riding their Goldwing and touring around the countryside and making a trip to a Honda Wing Ding Festival.
After Uncle Harry passed away, Richard and his son Victor took his old and well used Wheel Horse tractor and fully restored it. This sparked a new adventure for Richard and that led to a few other restorations and attending shows. The two would join the Northern Indiana Garden Tractor Club. He found pride in having a perfectly cut lawn and would pass this on to his three children and other family members. In his spare time, he enjoyed reading and watching about history, NASCAR races, and rooting on Indiana University Basketball, Notre Dame Football and the Chicago Cubs baseball teams. With a love for country music, he, his longtime friend Doyle Weigold and a few others started "Backstage Promotions" and for 30 years promoted music across Indiana. With his involvement, he and Violet took several trips to Nashville to the DJ's convention and was able to meet several memorable and talented musicians.
Life will forever be changed for Richard "Dick" McNeal's family after 6:35 a.m. Wednesday, September 5, 2018 when he passed away at home. The 82 year old veteran was just a few weeks away from being on an Honor Flight that he was so looking forward to taking with his grandson, Justin. His memberships included the American Legion, Post 246 in Albion, the VFW of Wolf Lake and the Eagles in Columbia City.
Survivors include his loving wife of 59 years, Violet McNeal; children, Renee (Richard) Owen, of Albion, Janelle Schuman, of Churubusco and Victor (Julia) McNeal, of Columbia City; brother, Ronnie (Muriel) McNeal, of Churubusco; grandchildren, Jared (Jessica) Owen, Wade (Emily Renner) Owen, Shannon Owen, Justin (Molly) Snyder, Kyle Snyder and Katelynn Schuman; five great-grandchildren and expecting a sixth soon; furchild, Paco; granddogs, Roxie and Lucy; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a niece and nephew.
Visitation is 1-5 p.m. Sunday, September 9, 2018 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Monday at the funeral home with visitation one hour prior. Chaplin Forrest Tabor of Heartland Hospice, who baptized Richard on Sunday, September 2, 2018 will be officiating. Burial will follow at Christian Chapel Cemetery with military honors being rendered by the U.S. Air Force and American Legion, Post 246. Memorial gifts may be given in his memory to Riley Hospital for Children, American Legion Post 246, or Heartland Hospice. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send his family condolences online.
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To the entire McNeal Family, I was so sorry to hear of Dick's passing. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time. Wish I could have told you this in person but just saw this. 😢 Lori
So sorry for the Families Loss! Thoughts and prayers for all!
Vic, Julia and the McNeal Family - We are deeply sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you through this difficult time. Warm regards, Anthony & Heather Wallace
I am so sorry for your loss. He was a wonderful man. Grew up with him to look up to. Like my dad he was kind. God bless you.
Prayers and condolences. May the Lord be with you. Celebrate the good times and remember with love and smiles. - Marletta
Lifting up prayers for strength, comfort and peace.
RIP to my lifelong friend. He was such a great guy. Our memories will last forever. Condolences to all his family . Violet thank you for loving him so very much. Our prayers are for God to give you strength.
Dear Violet and family so sorry for your loss.You are in my prayers. Caroline Jackson
May each of you find courage to face tomorrow as you rest in the knowledge that we truly care about each of your needs and that we will walk beside you in your journey of grief.
Randy Grimes, Brett Gerber and the Staff of DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home
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