Benjamin Franklin Neill, Jr., 93, and Mary Lou Neill, 92, Topeka, passed away hours apart on Saturday, June 27, 2020.
Benjamin was born October 1, 1926, at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka, the son of Benjamin F. and Grace Marie (Read) Neill. Benjamin attended Seaman High School and Washburn University.
Mary Lou was born August 28, 1927, in Topeka, Kansas, the daughter of Vada "Jack" and Minnie (Carrel) Allen. She graduated from Topeka High School and Strickler’s Business College.
In 1944, Ben joined the US Navy. He trained in Farragut, Idaho, then he was sent to a small craft training in San Pedro, California. The ship he was on became the training flag ship. Benjamin would help train new crews in mine sweeping and combat during the South Pacific Theater.
When he returned from the service, he and Mary Lou went on their first date and soon became engaged. Benjamin and Mary Lou were married on November 27, 1947 by Reverend G.O. Stackenbruck at First Christian Church in Topeka.
As Benjamin said, "My life has been full of great moments. Our greatest events together were the birth of our three children, Cindy (Arthur Stepp), Dan, and Ben (Penny), which has led to three fine families, seven grandchildren, Chris (Jenna) Reber, Shonda (Robert) Clasby, Beckie (Corey) Howe, Jesse (Heather) Neill, Ryan (Cindy) Neill, Erin (Chris) Rodriguez, Andrea (Jesse) Razak, and numerous great-grandchildren. We couldn't be more proud."
Benjamin was employed by the Topeka Fire Department where he retired as Fire Chief in 1979.
Mary Lou was a comptometer operator at Santa Fe and also worked at Hardesty, Bates and Clinkenbeard during tax season.
Mr. Neill was a member of the First Christian Church-Disciples of Christ, Topeka, Arab Shrine Temple, Kiwanis, and the First Christian Apartment Board.
Mrs. Neill was a member of the First Christian Church, past president of Disciples Women’s Fellowship, past guardian of Job’s Daughter’s, Kiwanitas, and Order of Eastern Star, Beulah Chapter where she was a 50 year member.
"We were fortunate to have close family ties as we boated, vacationed, and were included in good times with our kids and their families."
Following current local mandates, funeral services will be 11am Saturday, July 18, 2020 at Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home, 1321 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Ben and Mary Lou will lie in state from 9am until 5pm Friday, July 17, 2020 at the funeral home.
Please wear a mask if you are attending.
Memorial contributions may be made to Helping Hand Humane Society or Topeka Rescue Mission.
To leave a message for Ben and Mary Lou’s family, please click the Share Memories button above.
Funeral services will be recorded and posted to our website as soon as it is available.
Click the image below to watch Ben and Mary Lou's service.