William (Bill) Hutton Neel, 84, passed away May 5, 2013, in Coos Bay, Ore. Born September 12, 1927, in San Fernando, Calif., Bill grew up on a ranch in McNeal (near Bisbee), Ariz. At age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific during WWII.
Bill married Jeanette (Jan) Marie Hussey March 30, 1951, together they had five children. He was a lifelong rancher, raising Quarter Horses, Paint Horses and Saler cattle. Bill managed the Experimental Feedlot at the University of California at Davis (UCD), for over 30 years. He retired from UCD in 1991, and in 1994 moved to a ranch near Eagle Point, Ore.
Bill was a life-member of the Elks, and an early director for both the American Paint Horse Association and the California Paint Horse Association. In October 2012, Bill was inducted into the APHA Hall of Fame, in honor of that organization's 50th Anniversary celebration. Bill was also very instrumental in leading the Horse Project for the 4 BAR H, 4-H club in Davis in the late 60s and early 70s. He instilled horsemanship, leadership and sportsmanship for those 4-H club members.
Bill was preceded in death by his father, Walter Hutton Neel; his mother, Lota (Banta) Neel Bird; his sister, Alice (Neel) Grantham; and granddaughters, Jaclyn Garton and Jessica Bishop.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanette; sons and daughters-in-law, Walter and Pam Neel, of Porterville, Calif., and Tom and Lorna Neel, of Millsap, Texas; daughters and sons-in-law, Barbara and Michael Taylor, of North Bend, Ore., Marilyn and Lee Hunter, of Sacramento, Calif., and Nancy and Mick Garton, of Dixon, Calif.; 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Services are under the direction of Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131 and Conger-Morris Central Point Chapel, 541-664-3361 with visitation from 3:00-5:00 p.m., Thursday, May 9, 2013, at Conger-Morris Central Point Chapel, 800 S. Front St., Central Point, Ore. A graveside service with military honors will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, May 10, 2013, at the Eagle Point National Cemetery, 2763 Riley Road, Medford, Ore. with Chaplain Sgt. Mark Dalton officiating.
A celebration of his life will follow at 11:00 a.m. at Twin Creeks Retirement in Central Point. Friends and family are encouraged to sign the online guest book at www.coosbayfh.com.