Michael Lynn McNeal - husband, father, grandfather, teacher and friend - passed into his next adventure just before the sun rose on June 6, 2021. The middle son of Donald H. and Beatrice A. McNeal, Mike was born on the 7th of July in 1941 in Chillicothe, Ohio. In addition to his parents, Mike was preceded in death by brother, Donald L. McNeal, brother-in-law, William C. Ray Jr., and three dearly-loved baby grandsons. Mike is survived by his wife, Lynne Ellen (Ray) and their four children, Michele McNeal, Elaine (Keith) Melvin, Michael (Melissa) McNeal, and Suzie (John Moore) Graham. His grandchildren, Cait McNeal, Faith and Riley Melvin, Maddox and Zoe Graham, and Benjamin and Lucy McNeal tenderly carry their Papaw, Grandpa, Pips and Boopa in their hearts. Mike is also survived by brother and sister-in-law, Jan and Marty McNeal and sister-in-law, Shirley McNeal. Additionally, he is survived by sister-in-law, Marlene Ray, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Dr. Kenneth and Judy Freiberg. He also leaves behind many nieces and nephews.
Mike met the love of his life at the age of 16, and shared 64 years alongside his sweetheart, Lynne. He would hitchhike to see her, write her poems, and, during his retirement years, assist her every day with her Kindergarten students at Firestone Park Elementary. Anything for his "Lady in Red."
Mike was a "doer" of many things. During his Chillicothe High School years, he was the drum major for their marching band and took part in school theater productions. After graduating from OSU, he remained a loyal fan of OSU football and Script Ohio. Later, he earned his Master's Degree from the University of Akron. Mike retired with 37 years of teaching math and biology at Akron Public Schools, spent mostly at Hyre Jr. High, but also at Perkins Jr. High and at East High. He taught summers at Central Hower and nights at North High. He brought incredible patience, persistence, and kindness to his students and always found time to give extra help when needed. Mike directed, built stage sets, and supported theatre at Hyre Jr. High and Ellet High. He also performed in Stan Hywett's Shakespeare on the Terrace. Additionally, Mike often supervised summer road construction for the City of Akron. There was no task he would turn down, nor any "perfectly good" broken item that he couldn't rework or "re-wire." He was an accomplished tinkerer. Although his loyalty was tested, he remained a staunch supporter of the Cleveland Browns and Indians.
While our "doer" worked many long hours, he was a "giver" with endless love and timeless devotion for his family. Some of our sweetest memories were made as a family in the forest of Hocking Hills State Park. He was "the baby whisperer" for his children and their children.
His inner strength met and conquered devastating health battles over 23 years. As with all things, he gave it his all. He always saw the glass half full. The last battle has broken our hearts. Our family wishes to thank the many doctors and nurses who looked after and helped Mike along his journey.
A celebration of Mike's life will be held on Saturday, July 3, 2021, from 2-4 p.m. at Sheraton Suites Akron Cuyahoga Falls. In lieu of flowers, consider supporting a charity of your choice, registering as an organ donor, or finding a way to make someone else's day a little bit brighter.
"How lucky I am having something that makes saying goodbye so hard." - A. A. Milne