Robert McNiel

Robert Edwin McNiel

Wednesday, January 23rd, 1929 - Tuesday, March 17th, 2020
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Brevard – Robert “Bob” Edwin McNiel, age 90, passed away on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
He was the son of the late Charles and Irma Roberts McNiel.
Bob was proud of his military service with the Marines. He was with the Texas Highway Patrol for 15 years. He graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Science and Physics. He worked for NASA where he helped facilitate research in on landing on the moon. He enjoyed traveling, hiking, canoeing and spending time with family and friends.
Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Karen Barkley McNiel, two sons, Randy and Lawrence McNiel and two daughters, Robbye Patterson and Jackey McNiel.
Graveside services will be held 2pm, Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Blue Ridge Gardens of Memory.

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Moody-Connolly Funeral Home and Crematory are caring for the family.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Thursday, March 19th, 2020 | 2:00pm
    Thursday, March 19th, 2020 2:00pm
    Blue Ridge Gardens of Memory
    994 Hendersonville Hwy.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Blue Ridge Gardens of Memory
    994 Hendersonville Hwy.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Erin Connarn

Posted at 04:52pm
I have known Bob my whole like, just like my brother, Terry. He was our dad's best friend and a significant part of our family, along with Karen and Lawrence. We spent almost all the big holidays together, either in Brevard or travelling to Myrtle Beach in December. The thing I remember the most about Bob was his laugh. It was loud, booming, and full of joy. Whenever the family got together, I could guarantee that laugh would come out. It was a regular part of my upbringing and brought much comfort and normalcy to me. I will miss it most. I'm so so terribly sorry for your loss, Karen and Lawrence, and I'm sorry the TRW group lost such an important member! Life will never be the same. Thinking of you all during this time and I can only hope Bob is now resting in a wonderful peace. Lots of Love!!! Erin Connarn

Terry Connarn

Posted at 01:44am
For as long as I can remember I've always thought of Bob as a member of our family. He and Karen have been there throughout my whole life. Literally. She was the nurse who delivered me in Alice Springs, Australia; not too many years ago. (So it seems.) One of my favorite memories with Bob occurred shortly after my 21st birthday, at his home in Brevard, North Carolina. He invited me to over for a beer at his house and to have a man-to-man talk. It was just the two of us talking in their living room, and we of course had more than just one beer, but he gave me some great advice on what troubles and triumphs may come my way as a young adult, heading out into the world on my own. He was my dad's best friend. I never called him 'uncle Bob' because he was so much more than that. This truly breaks my heart. Godspeed Bob. We will miss you.

Millie Hyman

Posted at 03:39pm
So sorry to hear about Bob!
Milllie McKenzie Hyman

Vicki Moore

Posted at 12:10pm
We first met Bob and Karen several years ago here in North Carolina. One night at a fun chili dinner at Bob’s and Karen’s place we had a very entertaining evening discussing Bob’s and Tom’s adventures in Thailand. Bob was so cute as he got all excited reliving the memories. Karen has been the best wife ever to Bob. I’m glad we got to know them both. Vicki and Tom Moore

Al De Salvio

Posted at 10:54am
I first met Bob McNeil at the JDSRF in Alice Springs in 1973. Along with Al Connarn, I was also single at the time and lived on the Base at Pine Gap in the BOQs. As there were a few dozen singles living on the Base at that time, both male and female, we had a very active social life outside of work. I remember many enjoyable outings "out bush" where we would pile into 4 wheel drive vehicles and go camping in a local riverbed. All we needed for fun was a campfire, a bottle of wine and a steak to throw on the portable grill. Bob had a motorcycle so he might join us on his bike or a 4WD. Bob let me ride his bike one day in a sandy riverbed and I nearly burned up his engine trying to get the bike up in the sand. He made it look easy but I never got there and my bike riding days were quickly over.

Bob was a charmer with his Texas drawl. The Australian girls loved him and the men enjoyed his company. I shared an office with him for several years and we spent many enjoyable hours talking sports, investments and travel over our morning coffee. I can still remember the time Bob returned from a 2 month holiday back to the states where he planned on visiting his kids by his first marriage. I asked him how the trip went when he got back and he said pretty good except for the visit with his kids. I'm not sure if he surprised his ex-wife with the visit or she just couldn't take a joke but Bob said she was standing on the porch of the house when he drove up from the airport. That would have been OK except she was holding a rifle and she was pointing it at him. He quickly got the picture and reversed out of the driveway without leaving the car. He returned to the airport without seeing his kids on that visit. I still laugh every time I think of that story.

Bob was an easy going, happy man and never without female company when he was single. His life improved dramatically when he met Karen and she definitely settled him down. Their marriage was a long and happy one and blessed with a "sunset" child, Lawrence, who was indeed the apple of Bob's eye.

My last visit with Bob occurred several years ago when he and Karen returned to Alice Springs for a visit. Bob was still the same easy going guy who enjoyed a chat around the table and anxious to share stories. He was having lots of back problems at that time and my understanding is that they only got worse as he got older. In spite of his obvious pain, I never heard a word of complaint from him.

Bob was a true gentlemen. The kind of man that stood up when greeting a woman. I never heard Bob raise his voice or utter a swear word. When he got really angry the most you would hear was a "golly or gol dang". Bob was indeed easy going, but a high achiever at work. He filled several technical positions and ended his career as a "crew chief" in charge of a team of several members. Bob was universally liked at work by his peers and outside of work by his friends. I consider it a privilege to have been a friend of Bob McNeil. RIP

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