H. Jack McNeil

Published 1:50 am Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ridgeland — H. Jack McNeil, 84, passed away January 16, 2009 at River Oaks Hospital in Flowood. A memorial service celebrating his life will be conducted 2 p.m. Sunday at Natchez Trace Funeral Home in Madison with visitation one hour prior to the service.

Jack was born January 6, 1925 growing up in Jackson, Miss., Texarkana, Texas, and Natchez, Miss.

He was preceded in death by: his father, Horace W. McNeil, and mother, Grace Hart McNeil; sons, David Lockard McNeil and Randy McNeil; and grandson, Jason Ray McNeil.

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During WWII he served two tours of duty in the North Atlantic, stationed in Reykjavik, Iceland. He was a 32nd degree Mason, a member of the Scottish Rite and Wahabi Temple Shrine.

Jack was a self-made man. He returned from WWII taking a position with the Illinois Central Railroad advancing his way up to fireman. He worked hard, saved and invested in the automobile business and in commercial real estate. He ultimately became owner of a car lot on Terry Road, the owner and operator of General Motors dealerships in Picayune and Minden, La.

He was an avid fisherman and earned his private pilot license in 1946. One year he flew friends to Lake Guerrero, Mexico thirteen times. He is known to have more logged hours flying than many commercial pilots.

He and his wife, Judie, and children traveled the world. Jack and Judie also traveled extensively in the United States in their motor home. They always made friends on each trip. He would say, “I never went on a bad trip”.

He was a great “kidder”. He would introduce his children by saying, “Aren’t they good looking, they look just like their Daddy”.

He was always helping others, many times anonymously, never expecting anything in return. He gave his best in all he did and encouraged the best from those around him.

Jack loved life and lived it to the fullest. He was with friends daily, laughing and solving the world’s problems. Being such a strong-willed man helped him conquer his battles with cancer and failing health for many years.

In his “semi”-retirement years, he enjoyed his twice weekly lunches at the Mayflower with his long-time friend Herman Hines, his Friday lunch with the Capital City Club “Gang”, and his coffee club buddies every day at the Hilton.

He loved the New Orleans Saints and enjoyed watching the Manning boys win.

He is survived by: his wife, Judie Pegram McNeil; sons, Dr. Jack McNeil (Gwen) of Greenville, Miss. and Mike McNeil (Elaine) of Picayune; daughters, Debbie Newman (Sam) of Madison, Miss. and Tanya Jones of Brandon, Miss.; twelve grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and one great-great granddaughter.

In lieu of flowers the family request donations may be made to MS Animal Rescue League, CARA, or Madison Ark.