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John Watson McNeill III

1952 - 2019
John Watson McNeill III Obituary
John Watson McNeill III

August 3, 1952 - June 1, 2019


John Watson McNeill, 66, died on June 2, in Raleigh, NC. Watson was born to Sarah Margaret McPhaul McNeill and John Watson McNeill, Jr., on August 3, 1952. He grew up in Raeford, NC, where he learned to be an avid fisherman, hunter, and reader--enjoying these activities for the rest of his life with lifelong friends Paul Livingston and Eddie Williams. He graduated from Hoke County High School in 1970 and from UNC Chapel Hill in 1975 with a BS in Industrial Relations. After working in Pomona, CA, for three years, he returned to Raleigh, NC in 1978 where he met his wife Pauline Zobel originally from Mt. Kisco, NY. They have been happily married since the spring of 1981 and recently celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary. Watson went on to complete his Civil Engineering Technology Degree from Wake Technical College and was licensed as a Professional Land Surveyor in 1984. In 1998, he became a Professional Engineer. He retired from DOT as a Private Engineering Firm Coordinator in 2017 after 30 years of service; he then joined colleague and friend of 30 years, Parks Icenhour, at GEL Solutions of NC as a Senior Land Surveyor.

Watson is survived by his wife, Pauline; their two children, Gus (his partner Vanessa) and Emily; three grandchildren, Kaylin McNeill, Luke Cherry, and Evan Cherry. He is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Gwen McNeill and Gary Ashburn of Asheville and three nieces and a nephew: Mary Gwen Thomas Welborn (Derek), Maggie Ashburn (Rich Mason), Catie Ashburn Hester (Paul), and Brent Ashburn (Samantha). He has multiple beloved great nephews and great nieces, many cousins, their families, and dear friends. Watson was preceded in death by his parents and his sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Crawford Thomas.

A service will be held at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC, at 2pm on Wednesday, June 5, where Watson served as an Elder. The family will receive friends following the service. There will be a Minyan Service at Temple Beth Or, Raleigh NC at 7pm Wednesday, June 5. He will be interred on Thursday, June 6, at noon in the cemetery of the historic Antioch Presbyterian Church, Red Springs, NC, where his family has been members since its founding in 1833. Donations may be made to St. Giles Presbyterian, 5101 Oak Park Road, Raleigh, NC 27612; Antioch Presbyterian Church, 6582 Red Springs Rd, Red Springs, NC 28377; or Temple Beth Or, 5315 Creedmoor Rd, Raleigh NC 27612. Watson's family is most grateful to Rev. Dr. Katherine Kussmaul and the congregation of St. Giles Presbyterian Church and to Rabbi Lucy H. F. Dinner and members of Temple Beth Or. These faith communities have provided years of love and support to Pauline and Watson.
Published in The News & Observer on June 4, 2019
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