Duane McNeil

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Duane McNeil
Aug. 15, 1936 - Nov. 7, 2011

Duane T. McNeil passed away at his home, surrounded by his loving family on Nov. 7, 2011. Duane was the youngest of three children, born Aug. 15, 1936, in Oakesdale, Wash., to Wilbur and Helene McNeil.

He attended elementary school in Thornton and graduated in 1955 from Oakesdale High School, where he excelled in basketball and was fondly known by his school friends as "Buck."

In 1957, he married Mary Elaine Koch, of Rosalia, Wash. Just prior to being married, he went to work for Pacific Northwest Bell as a lineman, installer and repair technician. Over the next 43 years, he worked for the phone company in numerous cities and towns in Eastern Washington including Spokane, Grand Coule, Ritzville, Walla Walla and Pomeroy, finally settling in Dayton, where they lived until 1989. Duane retired from the telephone company in 1999 with a 23-year safety award and commendation from his employer for being accident-free during his entire career with the company.

Duane and Elaine were blessed with three sons; the first, Bruce, was born in Spokane in 1958, followed by Brian in 1961 and Matt in 1962, both born in Pomeroy. After retirement, he and Elaine lived in Milton-Freewater, College Place, Columbia Falls, Mont., and finally Lewiston, Idaho.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Wilbur and Helene McNeil; and his brother, Richard. Duane is survived by his wife of 54 years, Elaine; his sister, Patty (McNeil) Tanner and her husband Ken of Spokane; sons, Bruce and wife Cheryl of Kodiak, Alaska, Brian and wife Leslie of Great Falls, Mont., and Matt and wife Lori of Bend, Ore., and their families; 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; along with numerous nieces and nephews throughout Eastern Washington. He is also survived by the family's good friend, Eleanor Shelley of Columbia Falls, Mont.

Duane enjoyed spending time camping and woodworking, and was known as a kind and gentle man.

Graveside service will begin at 10 a.m., Nov. 10, 2011, at the Thornton Cemetery, followed by a memorial celebration service at 3 p.m., at the Orchards Christian Church, on 731 Warner Ave., in Lewiston.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Orchards Christian Church or to a charity of choice.

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