Bill was born to Bertha Louise (Holzhauer) and Ralph Blair McNeill on October 1, 1934. He was a brother to seven siblings, all of whom preceded him in death. Bill married Lela Frances (Leonard) on May 5, 1951. They were married 45 years until she passed on March 24, 1997. They had 3 children: Rebecca Sue (Keith) Robbins, Steven Lyle (Debbie) McNeill and Christine Annette Hadlock. He was PaPa to 9 grandchildren: Megan (Kirby) Reddy, Eric P. Kirby, Sarah (McNeill) Sims, Jared McNeill, Rebekah (McNeill) Brown, Jonathon C. Owens, Samantha (Norwood) Pickett and Ian M. Norwood, 27 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.
Bill retired from the University of Illinois Electrical Engineering Bioacoustics Department where he worked for 30 plus years. Over the years he had personal businesses which included a janitorial service, microscope cleaning and repair along with a partnership in Concepts Unlimited that designed race bicycle parts. He possessed an extreme talent to be able to design something from just an idea and make it work. The student at the U of I would go to him with their ideas and limited sketches, telling him what the item needed to do and he would take the information and create.
Bill and Fran loved to travel, camp and spend time at the beach. He was an avid solitaire and rummy player. He had many talents which included working with wood, drawing, painting, pottery, growing plants/flowers. He loved to feed the birds.
The family would like to thank Carle Hospice and Carle Hospital 9th floor staff for their exceptional patience and care during this strenuously emotional time. Their service went above and beyond what we could have ever expected.
Memorials can be made to Carle Hospice or Run 4 Raley Foundation.
Funeral services will be 11:00 AM, Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at Freese Funeral Home, Tolono. Burial will be at Grandview Memorial Gardens, Champaign. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 AM, Tuesday at the funeral home.
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