Robert Paul McNeill was born in Quincy, Florida on October 30, 1934. He was the second of two children that were born to Fitzhue Angus and Irene (Gilbert) McNeill. Robert graduated from Georgia Christian High School in Dasher, Georgia in 1954. During high school he sang in the Men's Chorus for four years, was a part of the annual staff for one year, and a member of the Personality Club for two years.
Following his graduation, he moved to Minnesota and worked on area farms before moving to the Rochester area where he met Arlene Sparks and worked for the Yellow Cab Company. Robert was inducted into the United States Armed Forces in February, 1958. He was stationed in Tong Tu Chon, Korea during the Korean War and then served with the United States Army Reserves until February, 1964. During this time, he and Arlene were married on November 21, 1960, in Sargeant, Minnesota. They were married on a Monday night to coincide with wedding dates of her parents and grandparents.
Robert and Arlene had two children: Sharon Lynn who was born on October 9, 1963 and Brian Robert who was born on September 23, 1966. During this time, Robert worked for newspapers in Florida, Georgia, and Minnesota before landing in Estherville, IA at the Estherville Daily News. Robert then decided to go into business for himself opening a Dixie Cream Donut shop. Robert and Arlene ran the business together for two years. He decided to go back to school at the USDA in Texas and became a food inspector for the Federal Government for 24 years. During his time as a food inspector, Robert and Arlene relocated numerous times. After their son Brian graduated from high school, Robert took a promotion and the couple made a move to Perry, IA staying for four years before taking an additional promotion to Bowling Green, MO. Robert spent thirteen years at Wood's Meat Market before retiring in 2000.
Robert and Arlene loved going on vacations, attending auctions, and just spending time together. He enjoyed gardening as he was known for his 'green thumb', baking, fishing, including the Gulf of Mexico, researching genealogy, collecting coins, and singing in the community chorus. His favorite music style was country gospel. Robert and Arlene decided to move to Knoxville, Iowa in 2003 to be near their children and grandchildren. They enjoyed the opportunities to share in their grandchildren's activities.
On Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Robert passed away at Mercy Main Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa at the age of 83 years. Robert is survived by his wife, Arlene, with whom he shared 57 years of married life; their son, Brian R. McNeill and his wife, Lisa (Kain), of Knoxville, Iowa; five grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren: Kyle Ellenwood, Nicole Goode and her two children: Montanna Pitt and Morgan Pitt, Cassie and her husband, Joel Rath, and their two children: Mackenzie Nichole and Jayah Horrach, Colin Brian McNeill and Cade Brandon McNeill. Robert was preceded in death by his daughter, Sharon (McNeill) Roberts; a grandson, Caleb Kain McNeill; his parents, Fitzhue and Irene McNeill; and his sister, Sara Schweigert. Funeral services were held on Friday, March 9, at the Williams Funeral Home in Knoxville.
Published on March 12, 2018