Raymond Sidney “Ray” Neil, 86, of Grand Forks, ND, and formerly of Mentor, MN, moved to Wheatland Assisted Living in Grand Forks, in January of this year. He loved the staff and they loved and cared for him. He passed away at the age of 86, on Sunday, June 12, 2022, at Wheatland, in his apartment, peacefully in his sleep.
Ray was born at East Grand Forks, MN on April 13, 1936, the son of Elmore and Mabel (Bateman) Neil. He began working for the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1959 and remained there until retiring in 1997. The Great Northern RR and Northern Pacific RR merged to become Burlington Northern in 1970 and his children and their friends often referred to him as Railroad Ray. He held many positions with the railroad; as a laborer, machine operator, track inspector, and finally as track foreman, where he enjoyed many a “railroad 5” nap. He said his favorite part of his job was payday, but we knew how much he loved the railroad and this was evident when, on camping trips, we would pull over on some tracks where he would get out and inspect them! He joined the Army National Guard when he was 23 and served for 7 years. He spent time in Fort Leonard Wood, MO, which he lovingly referred to as Fort Lost in the Woods, and followed in his brothers’ footsteps as a cook.
Ray married Carole Neil on May 19, 1962, in Gentilly, MN. They made their home in Crookston and raised their 3 children on Pleasant Avenue. In 1987, after Carole’s passing, he moved to Maple Lake, near Mentor, MN, where he and Carole had purchased a lake home.
He later met and married Audrey (Clark) Greenwood of East Grand Forks in 1993. They continued to live on Maple Lake. It was his favorite place!
Ray loved cars, guns, hunting geese and ducks, camping, snowmobiling, and spending time with his family and friends. He had an outgoing personality and many, many friends. No matter where he went Ray was always talking to someone he knew.
Loving family members include his children, Jeffrey (Lisa) Neil of Fort Smith, AR; Douglas Neil of Lexington, KY and Nancy (Dennis) LaCoursiere of Brainerd, MN.; grandchildren; Caitlin, Emma, Sawyer & Merritt Neil, Sarah Brooke & Madeline Neil and Theodore, Henry & Sydney LaCoursiere; sisters, Elenore Adair of Moorhead, MN; Carol (Ron) Fayette of East Grand Forks, MN; Karyn (Rod) Oian of Erskine, MN; brother, James (Sandy) Neil of East Grand Forks, MN; sister-in-law, Sylvia (Patenaude) Evans and brother-in-law, Raymond “Bud” Patenaude.
The Memorial Mass of Christian Burial for Ray will be held at 1:00 pm, Saturday, June 18, 2022, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Gentilly, MN with The Rev. Joe Richards, presiding. Visitation with the family will be for one hour prior to the service. The Mass will be live-streamed by going to Ray’s obituary page at www.stenshoelhouske.com and clicking on the prompt to view. Burial will take place in St. Peter’s Cemetery.