Richard Lee McNeely
1922 - 2018
Purdy & Walters at Floral Hills
409 Filbert Road
Lynnwood, WA
Richard Lee McNeely

Richard Lee McNeely, age 95, passed peacefully at his home in Shoreline, on Friday, January 26, 2018.

Richard was born in Huntington, WV on September 24th, 1922 to Dellifie Dennis McNeely and Blanche Virginia (Lee) McNeely. He had one brother, Charles McNeely. He met the love of his life, Sybil Goff at 13 years old, and they married soon after their graduation from Dunbar High School in 1940. They were married 68 years, when Sybil passed on August 15, 2010, at age 89. In 1941 they had their first of 5 daughters, Jan Wood of Arlington, followed by Dottie Miles of Yakima, Debra Grady of Tacoma, Sharon Holt of Lynnwood, and Kathleen Walden of Bothell. The West Coast McNeely family tree grew to 33, with 10 Grandchildren, 10 Great-Grandchildren, and 11 Great-Great-Grandchildren. The current McNeely clan is 31 and growing.

Richard was Passionate about many things:

-- Family, Friends, and Neighbors - He always put others first, generously giving his time and support, no matter the size of the situation. He was a devoted husband and father, and well-loved Grandpa.

-- Mentoring -. He had a strong desire to teach and to help others reach their own potential.

-- Problem solving - He was a creative genius and a master of deductive reasoning.

-- Mathematics - He loved using Calculus to figure things out.

-- All physical sciences - including physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and related subjects.

He could talk your ear off about gravity, black holes, magnetism, and his own theory of the universe.

-- Design/Build - a journeyman machinist, he could make nearly anything of wood, metal, plastic, etc.

-- Pilot -During WW II 1945 he was a pilot in the US Army Air Corp (predecessor to 'Air Force').

-- Gardening -He especially loved growing "Champion" tomatoes in his vegetable garden, and made delicious 23 vegetable beef soup.

Favorite quotes from Richard -

-- "Timing is everything"

-- "I can fix anything but a broken heart"

-- "99% of the things you worry about will never happen"

-- "Nothing is as it appears to be"

-- "All things are relative"

Distinguished Career -

His passions with science lead to his career as an internationally recognized marine conservation engineer. After inventing the underwater television camera for General Electric in Miami, FL, he transferred to Seattle, WA in 1957, where he worked 25 years in the US National Marine Fisheries (later NOAH), earning numerous awards for successful innovations in the fisheries industries, including purse seine, fish ladders, telemetry, for working with crab, tuna, shrimp, pollock, hake, salmon and many others.

His technical papers are published in at least 14 languages, and he lectured around the world, sharing his ideas, models, and techniques in marine fisheries conservation, net designs, and engineering.

He sailed in every ocean, from the Arctic to Antarctica and spent a great deal of time in both Alaska and the Equatorial waters of the Pacific. He trained with the Navy Seals to become an expert scuba diver, and even worked with Jacques Cousteau on one of his trips. The John N. Cobb vessel was often his home in the Northwest, calling home to his family using ship to shore when available. He loved being at sea!


Congressional Gold Medal of Honor - 1976 - US Dept of Commerce For successfully reducing porpoise mortality to levels approaching zero, as required by the Marine Mammals Protection act of 1972. He often referred to this achievement as 'Saving Flipper', and he was very proud to have this great honor.

Outstanding Performance Award - 1962, 1968, 1971, and 1975 - US Dept of Commerce Superior Service Award - 1965 - US Dept of Commerce Man of the Year - 1978 - American Cetacean Society, Los Angeles Chapter Outstanding Cadet - 1945 - US Army Air Corp - Lodwick School of Aeronautics

Funeral will be held at Floral Hills, Rose Garden, Friday Feb 9th, 1pm, reception following.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by The Seattle Times on Feb. 4, 2018.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Funeral services provided by:
Purdy & Walters at Floral Hills
Sponsored by The Family.
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3 Entries
It was my good luck to get to know you and be your care giver over the last few years. We miss you and will always remember you.
Ratchanee Rubin
February 9, 2018
Thank you for hiring me into the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Gear Research program in 69. It was an outstanding enjoyable experience. Resulting in my career with NOAA/NMFS. I will cherish the memories forever.
Dan Twohig
February 5, 2018
A fantastically, fascinating man. He will be missed as he had such a big personality. RIP Grandpa from Bob & Yolanda
Yolanda Carmen
February 1, 2018
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