Nancy Bennett McNeil, 81, passed away on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, at Hope Creek Care Center in East Moline.
Visitation is from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at Wendt Funeral Home, 1811-15th St. Place in Moline, on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Burial will be alongside her husband at the Rock Island Arsenal Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Moline Public Schools Foundation, the QC Humane Society or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Nancy (Bennett) McNeil, was born December 7, 1930, to Harold Mitchell Bennett and Gertrude Irene Porter Bennett in Belvidere, Illinois. Nancy married the love of her life, Donald James McNeil, June 30, 1952, in Moline, IL. Afterward, a wedding celebration was held at a legendary nightspot, The Plantation.
As a young girl, Nancy lived in Des Moines, Belvidere and East Lansing before the family settled in Moline, where she attended Moline Public Schools. At Coolidge Junior High School, she was an American Legion Award Winner and a spelling bee champion. She graduated from Moline Senior High School in 1949, where she was a National Honor Society member and Secretary of the MHS Student Congress.
She attended the University of Illinois @ Champaign briefly, then Augustana College which she supported throughout her life. After beginning her studies in English Literature and Art, she put her academic career on hold when, as young newlyweds, she and Don moved to Chicago. There she worked at an advertising agency to support her husband as he studied dentistry at the University of Illinois – Chicago. After graduating from dental school, Don served in the U.S. Air Force at Westover Air Force Base, Springfield MA. He and Nancy lived there for two years, welcoming their first two children before returning to Moline in 1957 to break ground on his new Moline dental practice.
Genealogist, gourmet cook, artist, avid reader and intrepid traveler, Nancy, and her brother Porter, were also original 1940’s era Moline Sailing Club members. While sailing dingies on the Mississippi River, she met her future husband, Don McNeil. Later, she became an ardent supporter of her kids and grandkids, rarely missing a swimming meet or sailing regatta. She treasured the summers she spent on the shores of Lake Michigan, beginning in 1959 as she and Don discovered a group of Quad Cities residents at a place called Michillinda.
Nancy was a strong supporter of education, having volunteered as a tutor for the Moline School District. She also backed the arts, including WVIK Public Radio, WQPT Public TV and the QC Symphony. She was a long-time supporter of QC swimming from 1965 on, including being a Moline Blue Marlin gold sponsor and a supporter of the Two Rivers YMCA Strong Kids Campaigns.
She is survived by her children Mitchell (Pamela) McNeil, Oak Park, IL; Douglas McNeil, Spring Lake, MI; Porter (Mary), Moline, IL; Christopher (Ann) McNeil, Maui, HI; and Elizabeth (Gerald) Gill, Springfield, IL.
She was a loving grandmother to 14, including Cameron, John and Ben McNeil; Gwenivere, Samuel and Hannah Gill; Emily, Zoe and William McNeil; Dylan and Evan McNeil; James, Jack and Ellie McNeil. Nancy enjoyed each and every grandchild, and the various activities in which they were involved. She would be terribly proud of their recent achievements.
Other survivors include sister-in-law Virginia McKibben Bennett Nelson, and her children Tom, Jon, Jamie and Sara Bennett-Springer; and neice Barbara (Rick) Bracke Moskowitz, and nephews Father James Bracke and Tom (Deb) Bracke.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Don, her brother Porter Bennett (who played on the MHS basketball team that finished second in state in 1943), and her parents, Trudy and Harold Bennett. The McNeil family would like to express deep gratitude to the nurses and staff of the Hope Creek Care Center who took such good and positive care of Nancy.