Marie Therese O’Connor McNeely quietly slipped away on April 23, 2020, returning to God’s heavenly embrace. Born in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan in September of 1928 to Joseph L. and Mary M. “Mayme” (Murphy) O’Connor, Marie grew up in Farmington, Michigan, and attended St. Joseph Academy, a Catholic boarding high school for girls in Adrian, Michigan. She pursued higher education at the Detroit Institute of Technology, earning a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, and leading women in the profession as one of the first female Registered Pharmacists in 1950. During her career, Marie worked at several retail pharmacies and the pharmacy in Mott Children’s Hospital.
After completing her education, Marie wed the love of her life, Edward J. “Jack” McNeely, on August 2, 1952. They enjoyed nearly 60 years together before Jack’s passing, welcoming eight children into the family and opening their home and hearts to their foster children, Kevin Michael and Mary Catherine. Family was everything to Marie. After being affected by dementia later in life, she reviewed her memory of family often.
Marie had a vivacious, sassy personality, ensuring laughter and fun by all surrounding her. Her interests centered around giving to those in need. For example, she volunteered as an adult literacy tutor, and was often seen delivering meals to the homebound. She loved to drive larger all-weather vehicles, being quick to offer to tow a neighbor stuck after a snowstorm. Throughout her life, she loved nothing more than the satisfaction of a great meal. Most vacations with Jack began by stopping within 15 minutes after leaving home, savoring a wonderful meal at a nearby eatery. Similarly, unpleasant tasks often ended in a trip to Sander’s for an ice cream sundae or a cream puff.
If she were here today, without a doubt Marie would say that she had a wonderful life, extending thanks to all who shared it with her.
Marie was preceded in death by her loving husband Jack; siblings Joseph (Bernice) O’Connor and a brother and sister who died in infancy; Jack’s siblings, Patrick, Mary Helen (Nicholas) Rine, James (Marialyce), Eilleen (Edwin) King, and William; Marie’s sister-friend Ellen Kelly; several nieces and nephews; and friends and relatives too many to list. Her presence will be sorely missed by her children and their families, Kathleen (Rob Gold), Dennis (Sandra Koenig), Sharon, Maureen (Robert) Turner, Edward, Brigid (Robert) Havens, Kevin (Cheryl Gholson), and Colleen Turner, 22 grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law Mary McNeely-Taylor and Shirley McNeely; lifelong friend Mary Rice; and many other nieces and nephews.
Marie’s remains were cremated privately. She will be interred with Jack at Rural Hill Cemetery in Northville, Michigan at a later date, when a Celebration of Life gathering will be held in her memory.
In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to health and human service agencies aligned with Marie’s passions. Foremost, we are experiencing unprecedented worldwide health and economic impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic. World Central Kitchen is working in Michigan and across America to safely distribute individually packaged, fresh meals in communities for families to pick up, as well as deliver to homebound seniors. WCK is also activating restaurants to help meet this demand by providing jobs for their staff and meals for those in need; connecting people who need meals with restaurant workers and drivers who need to earn a living. Donations in Marie’s memory are appreciated to either the World Central Kitchen (www.wck.org), the Detroit Literacy Coalition (www.detroitliteracy.org), or the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).
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