HARTFORD CITY – Rev. Robert "Bob" Coleman Neel Sr., 81, of Hartford City, went to be with his Lord and Savior at 3:55 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at Markle Health and Rehab, where he had been living for the past several months.
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He was born in Altus, Okla., on February 26, 1931. the son of Merrill Alfred Neel and Eva Dell (Newcomb) Neel.
Rev. Bob Neel graduated from Edinburgh High School in Texas in 1949. He graduated from Pan Ameri-can University in Edinburgh, Texas. He also graduated from Texas Christian University, Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga, and College of the Bible in Lexington, Ky.
He attended Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Buchanon Council Center and Taylor Uni-versity for Jail Ministry Chaplaincy Program.
Rev. Bob Neel married Sybil Maria (Sanders) Neel on June 8, 1955, at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta, Ga.
Rev. Bob Neel had first pastured at Raymondville First Christian Church in Raymondville, Texas, for 3 ½ years.
Rev. Robert Neel and Sybil moved to Hartford City on the first Sunday of January 1960 to pastor at the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Hartford City for 12 ½ years. In June of 1972 he founded the Christian House Church which later became known as Calvary Christian Church and later Calvary Christian Lighthouse Church.
Rev. Bob Neel was a co-founder with Doug Gulley of Blackford County Jail Ministries "Free on the Inside" and involved in the former Sound of the Truth Ministry WWHC radio ministry. He was formerly the Blackford County Hospital chaplain, founder and charter member of the Hartford City Cemetery Association (former I.O.O.F. Cemetery), founder and board member of Hartford City Head Start and founder and board member of Blackford Mental Health Association. He also was a former Hartford City Kiwanis member, founder of Jacob's Well Team Ministry in Hartford City, Board of Directors of One Way Book Store and a member of the Key 73 Evangelism Camp in Blackford County and High Flight Evangelistic Association.
He will be sadly missed by his wife, Sybil Maria Neel, of Hartford City; sons, Rev. Robert C. (wife, Tammy) Neel Jr., of Upland; Pastor Alfred Christian "Chris" (wife, Sandra J.) Neel, of Hartford City; daughter, Eva Dell (husband, John) Neel-Hewett, of Melbourne, Australia; grandchildren, Sarah Elizabeth Neel, Esther Maria Neel, David Robert Neel, Emily Jane Neel, Andrew Christian (wife, Rebekah) Neel, Georgia Celine Neel-Hewett and Nelson Neel-Hewett; brother, James Merrill (wife, LaNell) Neel Sr., of Houston, Texas; one niece; one nephew.
He is preceded in death by his parents and his granddaughter, Jennifer Renee' Neel.
Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, at Calvary Christian Lighthouse Church, 2101 N. Walnut St., Hartford City, with Pastor Troy Kaufman officiating. Burial will follow at Hartford City Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, and from 8 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, at Calvary Christian Lighthouse Church.
Arrangements made by Keplinger Funeral Home, 509 N. High St., Hartford City.
Memorials may be made to Calvary Christian Church Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 108, Hartford City, IN 47348.
Online condolences may be sent to www.keplingerfuneralhome.com
Published in Hartford City News Times from Aug. 28 to Sept. 3, 2012