Thursday, April 26, 2018

Jean McNeel

Bonnie “Jean” Spears McNeel, age 88, of Noxapater, Mississippi, peacefully passed and entered the Heavenly Gates at 1:40 a.m. on April 26, 2018, at Winston Medical Center in Louisville, Mississippi. Her son, Billy Gene McNeel, and his wife, Carolyn, were by her side. Funeral services will be 3:30 p.m. at Noxapater Baptist Church on Sunday, April 29 with Rev. Mike Fondren officiating. Visitation will be at the church from 1:30 p.m. until service time on the day of the service. Interment will follow the service at Mount Carmel Cemetery across from Noxapater Baptist Church.

Jean was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, on March 27, 1930, to Frank and Vera Alexander Spears. She graduated from Philadelphia High School. She married Billy McNeel on December 23, 1950, in a double wedding ceremony with two of their best friends, Billy and Margaret Mooney Johnson. Most of Jean and Billy’s married life was spent living in Noxapater, Mississippi, where they raised their two children, Vicky and Billy Gene. Jean retired in April 1995 after twenty-five years of service as a Bank Teller with Bank of Noxapater, a branch of Citizens Bank & Trust Company. She worked for Weyerhaeuser Company in Philadelphia prior to working at the bank. Her first job was at JC Penney in Philadelphia.

After retirement, Jean loved spending more time with her family. She especially enjoyed Sundays when Billy Gene and Carolyn, along with their two children, William and Brittney, would come after church for dinner. Jean enjoyed traveling to Spokane, Washington, to visit Vicky and Jeff Eickerman and their two daughters, Victoria and Katherine, even though flying made her nervous. She loved being a great-grandmother. She was fondly called Mama Jean not only by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but by many of their friends and also Vicky’s college friends, who always welcomed her to their annual reunions. Jean was truly loved by all who knew her and even those who knew of her.

Other joys in Jean’s life included faithfully attending Noxapater Baptist Church and gardening/yard work. Passersby would often find Jean digging in the dirt or picking up limbs and pine cones from her yard well into her advanced years. Jean will be remembered as a very sweet, but tough Christian lady.

Survivors include son Billy Gene McNeel and his wife Carolyn of Noxapater and their children William McNeel of Louisville and Brittney Rhodes of Starkville; daughter Vicky Eickerman and her husband Jeff of Sagle, Idaho, and their children Victoria Sheppard (Brian and daughter Sophie) of Lexington, Virginia, and Katherine Carlone (Dillon and children Joseph, James and Juliana) of Spokane, Washington; sisters-in-law Doris Hamilton (Jimmie) and Pauline (Joe-deceased) McNeel of Noxapater; niece Jan Dennis Wutkowski (Michael) of Wilmington, North Carolina and numerous other nephews and nieces from the McNeel family.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Vera Spears, husband, Billy McNeel, and sister, Beth Dennis and her husband Dalton and daughter Sue Riley (Mike). Other loved ones gone, but not forgotten are her mother-in-law Beryl McNeel, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nephews and niece from the McNeel family and cherished friends.

Serving as pallbearers are Buddy Chappell, Phil Chappell, Rick Haggard, Paul Hamilton, Jerome Kittrell, and Barry Rhaly. Memorial contributions in honor of Jean McNeel may be given to The Baptist Children’s Village, , P. O. Box 27, Clinton, MS 39060-0027.

Services are under the direction of Nowell-Massey Funeral Home, 724 North Columbus Avenue, Louisville, MS. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family by signing the guest register at