November 15, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.
Updated November 15, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.
McNeill, Robert “Bob”
Robert "Bob" McNeill
(Courtesy photo of Jeff Lendrum)
Robert “Bob” McNeill, age 95, of Dodgeville passed away peacefully at CrestRidge Assisted Living on Saturday, November 11, 2023. Bob was born on March 22, 1928 to William “Wick” and Dorothy McNeill and lived on the family farm in Waldwick. He liked tinkering with all things mechanical as a child. He attended the one room Prairie School and was in the top two in a class of two. He won a Blue Ribbon at the Iowa County Fair for a calf which gave him the idea of naming the Blue Ribbon 4-H Club. He was proud of that and it is still going strong today. He later attended Hollandale School where he played baseball and was Captain of the Basketball team. He was later inducted into the Pecatonica Hall of Fame. There he also met the love of his life, a pretty brown-eyed Swiss girl named Helen. She was the President and Junior Prom Queen and selected Bob to be her Prom King. This was the best offer Bob had his whole life. Bob then spent some time at Coyne Electrical School in Chicago. When he returned they were married June 24, 1947. The two started Bob’s Electric a week later. Many special friendships were born here as well as a family.
The business moved to Dodgeville in 1960. Bob became involved in many community endeavors. He enjoyed being President of the Chamber of Commerce in 1964 when Dodgeville won the single class WIAA basketball tournament. He was a charter Lion’s Club member and received the prestigious Melvin Jones and other awards. Bob co-chaired the major fund raiser for MHIC (Upland Hills Health today) believing in the need for quality medical care for the area. He was on the Strong’s Bank (BMO) and Hollandale School Boards. Bob loved the annual fishing trips to Canada and was known as Ranger Mac to his buddies. It was here the idea floated to honor the farming community. Hence, Farmer’s Appreciation Day was born. Bob also thoroughly enjoyed card playing with his buddies, calling themselves the Rusty Zipper Club. The annual deer hunt to the cabin with his family was always special to him.
Bob enjoyed his time golfing at Dodge-Point Country Club. In fact he golfed well into his 90’s and was able to shoot his age. He was an avid sports fan cheering on his Dodgers, Bucks, Brewers and Badgers. Bob and Helen both loved to travel. They went to dozens of countries but his six trips to Helen’s Switzerland was his favorite. Her family there referred to him as der Grosse Bob (Big Bob) which he got a kick out of. He was also proud of his Irish-Cornish-Scottish heritage.
Besides community service, Bob was best known for his humor. This broke down any barriers of language or status. He treated everybody the same, if they were a CEO or a person down on their luck. It was said many times that Bob was the funniest person they ever knew. He was a walking Rolodex of humor.
Along with Helen, Bob had a great love for his family. It was never a dull moment with him around. He liked to tell many family members, caretakers, and others privately that they were his favorite. He played many favorites causing much good-hearted banter of who the real favorite was. Bob thoroughly enjoyed his last eight months at CrestRidge Assisted Living.
To know Bob was to love him. We will miss him dearly.
Bob is survived by his four children; Gloria Bradley, Terry (Laura) McNeill, Robert S. (Mary Kay) McNeill all of Dodgeville, and Jo Ann McNeill of Bradenton, FL.; his nine grandchildren, Jeff (Jenn) Bradley, Brian (Karen) Bradley, Eric (Stacey) Bradley, Leah (Josh) McNeill Heller, Jenna (Pete) Moreau, Bobby McNeill, Macy (Tom) Turpin, Kristy (Matt) Staver, and Shawn (Mindy) Sauer; and 19 special great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Jim (Janet) McNeill, sister June (Jim) Paynter, sister-in-law Gloria Blaser; along with many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Helen, sister Jane Rishel, brother-in-law Adolph Blaser, and sons-in-law John Bradley and Richard Orienti.
A Memorial Service for Bob McNeill will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 17, 2023 at GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH in Dodgeville. Rev. Mark Williamson will officiate. Inurnment will be held in Middlebury Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday at the GORGEN-McGINLEY & AYERS FUNERAL HOME in Dodgeville and from 9:30 a.m. until time of services on Friday at the church.
Gorgen-McGinley & Ayers