Mike Lynn McNeill went on to his next great adventure on March 22, 2023. He was 87 years old. Mike fought a brief bout with pneumonia and passed peacefully with his sons and wife at his side. Mike was a resident of Stephenville, Texas.
He was born in Prescott, Arizona on December 14, 1935. His parents were C.A. McNeill and Thelma Perkins McNeill. He had one sister, Cleo Ann Baker and one brother, James Richard McNeill.
Mike lived in many towns across the West during his childhood, often living in a boxcar. He attended 12 different schools because his father worked for the Sante Fe Railroad. He moved to Kopperl, Texas with his family in December, 1950 so his father could move the Sante Fe Railroad bridge before it flooded during the creation of Lake Whitney. Mike graduated Kopperl High School in May 1953.
Following graduation, he worked for the Sante Fe Railroad for one year. Mike joined the US Navy “to see the world” in 1954 and served for 4 years, mostly in the Philippines, repairing radar on submarines and ships. After his military career, he worked for two years at Point Barrow, Alaska, five hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle on the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line, a network of radar stations established to alert the United States if threatened by aircraft attack.
When his stint was over, Mike decided to “try his hand” at college. He ended up at Tarleton in Stephenville in the summer of 1960. A newspaper ad for Jake and Dorothy’s Café featuring Mike’s college photograph hangs in the restaurant to this day. It was at Tarleton in 1960 that he met the love of his life, Judith Ann Holt, and married her in May of 1961.
They moved to Waco in 1961 and Judy attended nursing school and Mike took courses from Baylor and worked as a radio\TV repairman. While Judy finished her training, he moved to College Station and started at Texas A&M University in September of 1962. Their first son, Michael Andrew McNeill, was born in Bryan, Texas on August 15, 1963. Mike graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering January 1965. Two weeks later, he started his first job as a Junior Engineer with concrete and aggregate company, Gifford-Hill in Dallas, Texas.
In 1966, Mike and Judy bought their first home and a few months later their second son, Mark Alan McNeill was born on May 5th. In September, Gifford-Hill moved the family back to Aggieland for a year so Mike could be in residence for a joint research project with Texas A&M. While there, he finished his master’s degree in civil engineering. In September, Gifford-Hill moved them back to Dallas, Texas.
During his 32-year career, Mike rose through the ranks of Gifford Hill, first becoming a Chief Engineer in 1969 over the engineering department. In 1975 he was promoted to General Manager of Dallas concrete operations. In 1976, he became General Manager of the southwest concrete operations. In 1978, he was named Vice President of the southwest concrete operations. In 1980, he was transferred to Shreveport as Vice President of concrete and aggregate operations for the four state region. In 1990, Mike was promoted to Vice President of Gifford-Hill & Co. Concrete Products and Construction Materials Division. In 1992, he became President of Gifford-Hill and retired in 1997. While working at Gifford Hill, Mike also served as Director and Chairman of the National Ready-Mix Concrete Association.
After retiring from Gifford-Hill, Mike and Judy moved to Stephenville and thoroughly enjoyed traveling to remote locales around the globe from Peru to China, as well as visiting their children and grandchildren across the US.
Mike was a gentle, kind, and generous person who always looked out for others. He taught his sons and grandsons to be men of integrity and honor. Mike led by example and encouraged others to become better human beings.
Mike is survived by his wife, Judy McNeill, sons Michael McNeill and his wife Donna and Mark McNeill and his wife Gayle, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, C.A. and Thelma McNeill, Sister Cleo Ann Baker, and brother Dick McNeill.
A visitation service will be held on Sunday, March 26, 2023 at 5 pm at the First Baptist Church, 334 West Green Street, in Stephenville, Texas. Memorial Services will be held at 2 pm on Monday, March 27, 2023, at the Lawson Funeral Home, 803 North Main in Meridian, Texas with a brief graveside following at the Meridian Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Kopperl Volunteer Fire Department, Attention: “Sunshine” Kuykendall, 14775 FM 56, Kopperl, Texas 76652, or First Baptist Church – Grace Place, 334 West Green St., Stephenville, TX 76401 or Erath County Humane Society, 891 East Road, Stephenville, Texas 76401.
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