March 17, 2015
Donald James Neil, age 81, passed away at home on March 17, 2015.
Don was born in Raton, NM to Peter M. Neil and Bertha Stevens Neil. From age three to thirteen he lived in Dawson, NM, where his Scottish immigrant grandfather, Alan Neil, had worked in the coal mines. Following WWII the family moved to Albuquerque and Don became involved with 4-H, raising and showing fat steers and earning numerous ribbons and awards. He graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1953 and was drafted into the United States Army. During a tour of duty in Korea he served with the 226 Signal Company Taegu and the 503 Engineer Pusan Group. In 1956 he met and married his life partner, Evelyn M. Schaefer in Lusk, WY.
Don and Evelyn have lived in Albuquerque for 58 years where they raised two sons. He and Evelyn co-founded Kachina Petroleum Equipment Co. which over the past 45 years has built and maintained retail and bulk fuel facilities throughout New Mexico and west Texas. Don was a member of the St Andrews Scottish Society and the Albuquerque Guild of the Santa Fe Opera. As a member of the New Mexico Garden Railroaders, he helped build the Garden Railroad at the NM BioPark.
He loved dancing, traveling, making new friends and telling stories of his youth as a ‘Coal Camp Kid’. He especially enjoyed watching and photographing the quail, bobcats and deer that regularly visited his backyard. He died as he lived, fought hard until the end, stayed positive. He thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been.
Don is survived by his wife, Evelyn; son, Tracy (Wendy); son, Brent (Michelle) and beloved grandchildren, Devin (Sonia), Nicholas, Emily, and Hayley. He is also survived by his sister, Betty Miller (Darrell) and nephew, Gregg Miller; cousins, Nancy Neil-Fullerton, John Neil, and Melvin Neil; brother-in-law, Jay Schaefer (Claire); nieces, Julie Briggs and Sharon Jalene; nephews, Paul Briggs and Cameron Schaefer.
His cats, Sophie and Halle will miss him dearly as will all the wonderful friends he made over the years
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