Rebecca Lynn McNeill: March 2, 2020
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 3:00 PM at First Methodist Church in Americus, Georgia followed by a graveside service at Oak Grove Cemetery in Americus. The family will receive friends from 2:00PM until 3:00PM at the church prior to the funeral.
Rebecca was raised in Georgetown, Georgia. She had three brothers and one sister who have preceded her in death. She attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) in Tifton, Georgia, Huntingdon University in Montgomery, Alabama and graduated from the University of Georgia with Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Biology and Education. While at ABAC, she met Robert (Bobby) Duncan McNeill III who she married in 1947 after he returned from service in the US Navy during World War II. They remained married for 69 years until his death in 2016, having lived in Americus since 1950. Survivors include son, Robert (Bob) Duncan McNeill IV (Sandra); daughter, Lynne McNeill Anderson (Jimmy); three grandchildren, Ashley McNeill Whitmire, William Robert McNeill (Lindsay), Kevin Welch, three great grandchildren, Heys Whitmire, Mason Whitmire and Cullen McNeill; and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.
Bobby and Rebecca enjoyed dancing (ballroom and square dancing) and spending time with family and friends. They were active in church and community. In later years, they were inseparable and one almost never saw one without the other in attendance.
Rebecca had a lifelong commitment to God, her family and the education of thousands of students at the high school and college levels. She loved her Lord, loved her husband and children and loved every one of her students. She taught biology, botany, anatomy and physiology to students throughout Georgia earning a reputation of a tough but beloved champion of knowledge. She inspired many students to become more than they ever imagined they could be by instilling confidence in their ability and by demonstrating the importance and success of hard work and dedication to one’s passion(s).
She was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church from her childhood in Georgetown, Georgia and later in Americus, Georgia at Salem United Methodist Church for many years and at First United Methodist Church for the last 30 years of her life. At First United Methodist Church in Americus, she was a member of the Epworth Sunday School Class serving as a teacher in the class for 10 years and a member of the United Methodist Women’s Circle. Her faith was the foundation of her life and she shared her education passion there as well by serving as Sunday School teacher, United Methodist Youth Fellowship Leader and United Methodist Subdistrict Youth Counselor for many years.
Rebecca had an enthusiasm for life that never waned. She was involved in many extracurricular activities related to her educator roles serving as sponsors of many high school and college clubs. She was a member of the Dogwood Garden Club in Americus as well as the Garden Club of Georgia and active well into her last year of life. She served in various leadership roles within the Garden Clubs and recruited many new members into these organizations. She was a Flower Show Judge as well as a participant in many flower arranging shows winning ribbons of every color including numerous First Place and Tricolor Awards. She arranged flowers with an artistry that was known throughout Georgia. She provided flower arrangements for many parties, college graduations and weddings in Americus and other locations around Georgia. Her knowledge of botany was well-known around Georgia. She was asked to consult with the Georgia Department of Transportation and assisted them in identifying wild flowers and flora throughout the state and in developing wild flower beds along Georgia highways. She worked tirelessly on restoring the World War I Memorial known as the Memorial Mile on US 19 about three miles north of Americus.
Throughout the years, Rebecca received many awards and recognitions. She was a Pandora Beauty at the University of Georgia. The 1962 Yellow Jacket Yearbook at Union High School in Leslie, Georgia was dedicated to her. In 2015 she was awarded the prestigious Peachtree Garden Club Medal for her outstanding service to the state and community as a member of the Garden Club of Georgia. This award recognized her individual achievement for exceptional and outstanding accomplishments in the varied fields of gardening which provided a definite and stimulating influence within the state. In 2019 the Georgia Southwestern Foundation Board of Trustees and alumnus Sam Adams, Ph.D. established the Rebecca McNeill Scholarship Endowment to honor her because of the influence she had on Dr. Adams’ life as well as her service to education at the high school and collegiate levels.
She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and enjoyed her relationship and fellowship with friends and colleagues there.
Rebecca was inordinately proud of her family in which she included not only the blood relatives but those with whom she developed a close personal relationship. And while she informed the world of how “accomplished and important” we all were , she knew our strengths and weaknesses well. She played a major role in our outcomes by loving, leading and teaching us to be good, kind and respectful people with strong values. Those of us who are lucky enough to call her Mama, Second Mama, Grandmama, Aunt, Cousin, Mrs. Rebecca, Rebecca, Mrs. McNeill or Friend know that we are who and what we are in large part because she loved us and taught us.
A special acknowledgment and thanks go to her loving and skilled caregivers who provided wonderful care to Mrs. Rebecca in the last several years of her life. Their expertise and knowledge allowed her to have an active and peaceful journey. Those kind and caring individuals are Jessica Penn, Betty Foster, Olivia Floyd, Deborah Milledge , Priscilla Whitehead and previously Cheryle Henry and Barbara Kimbrough as well as the staff of Amedisys Home Health Care, MRS Medical Equipment, the staff of Mercer Medicine Clinic and Dr. Michael Raines. We are forever in your debt.
Memorial donations may be made to the Rebecca McNeill Endowed Scholarship Fund at Georgia Southwestern University Foundation in Americus, Georgia, PO Box 926, Americus, GA 31709.
To sign our online guestbook and express your condolences to the family, please visit www.hancockfuneralhomeinc.com
Hancock Funeral Home, 427 S. Lee St., is honored to be entrusted with these arrangements for Mrs. Rebecca Lynn McNeill.