Reverend McNeil, the oldest son of the late Mitchell McNeil and the late Mazie Jones McNeil, was born in Horry County, South Carolina. He entered into eternal rest on Friday evening, May 11, 2018 at the McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina.
Reverend McNeil was educated in the public schools of Horry County, Conway, South Carolina. His spiritual foundation began at Greater St. James AME Church in Conway, South Carolina. He answered the call to carry the gospel while serving at the St. John Community Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut and pursued theological studies at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut and New Haven University School of Religion in New Haven, Connecticut. His Christian leadership spanned over forty years serving as a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church for twenty-eight years. Churches and congregations Reverend McNeil served included in the Northeast Conference Mt. Zion, Zion, Little Zion, Latta, Magnolia, Bingham, Bethel Hill, Latta, Mt. Calvary, Hartsville, Bethlehem, Rains and in the Palmetto Conference Bethel, Plantersville, Hopewell, Hemingway, Singleton Chapel, Georgetown and Nazareth (Choppee) Georgetown. While pastoring he was selected to preach the annual sermon in the Northeast Conference. Also, he had the honor of being selected as an alternate delegate to two sessions of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. After his retirement in 2012, he continued serving in ministry at St. Michael AME Church in Georgetown, South Carolina.
Reverend McNeil was a committed minister and pastor, community servant and all around proverbial “Good Samaritan” who exhibited Christian principles lending a helping hand to anyone in need. A partial list of his past and present community service includes: Chaplin at Byerly Hospital, Hartsville and McLeod Hospital Florence, President of the NAACP Andrews, life member of the NAACP, Executive Board Member of A Father’s Place Conway, former Executive Board Member of Care Team of Myrtle Beach, former Board Member of Darlington Housing for the Mentally Challenged Darlington, and a founding member of the Latta AMEN Prayer Breakfast Group. He served on several School Improvement Councils in communities where he pastored.
Reverend McNeil enjoyed several hobbies which included fishing, browsing in Christian bookstores, bowling, cooking, traveling and reading. He was an avid reader with an enviable library. Reverend McNeil first married the late Phyllis Naomi Spain McNeil. After her death, he met and married the Honorable Reverend Gwendolyn R. McNeil. They lived in Latta, South Carolina several years before moving to Andrews, South Carolina in Georgetown County.
Preceding him in death were his first wife, parents, brothers: Mitchell McNeil, Johnny McNeil, Carl McNeil and Herman McNeil and mother-in-law: Geraldine Roberts. Reverend McNeil’s memory will be cherished by the following: his loving and devoted wife: the Honorable Reverend Gwendolyn R. McNeil; son: Joseph Spain of Bridgeport, Connecticut; nieces he reared as his daughters: Dr. La’Retha Spain of Covington, GA, Fantasia (Wilton) Meadows of Columbia, SC, Britney (Ricky) Kent of Florence, SC and Ashley Roberts of Marion, SC; father-in-law: John D. Roberts of Latta, SC; grandchildren; brothers: Henry McNeil of Forestville, MD, Curtis McNeil of Nashville, TN, Derry McNeil of La Plata, MD; sister: Jacqueline McNeil of Washington, DC; sisters-in-law: Ceily Ann Spain-Gass of Conway, SC, Alicia Mae (Holiday) Spain-Grissett of Bridgeport, CT, Evangelist Gloria (Prophet David) Barr of Georgetown, SC, Elsie Jackson and Denice Baines of Latta, SC, Annette (Minister James) McDowell of Dillon, SC, Lisa (Bryant) Carter of Georgetown, SC and Gail Roberts of Marion, SC; brothers-in-law: Reverend Dr. Sam T. (Henrietta)Spain of Lady’s Island, SC, Ronnie (Ruth) Roberts of Dillon, SC, Gregory (Jolene) Roberts of Fort Washington, MD, Minister Jackie (Anita) Roberts of Long Beach, CA and Elder Gearl (Valarie) Roberts of Quinby, SC; aunt: Zenobia Steele of Conway, SC; god-children: Attorney Thomas Holliday and Dr. Edana Holliday of Charlotte, NC and other extended family members, friends and church congregations.
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