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David Neel



David Andrew Neel, 56, passed away on March 7, 2014 at his home in Zionsville, IN. Born November 25, 1957 in Snoqualmie, WA, he was the son of Robert William Neel, and Donna Pauline Neel (French).

Dave's father worked for the Washington State Game Department and the family moved to various fish hatcheries over the course of Dave's childhood. These included the Spokane hatchery, the Barnaby Slough rearing pond in Rockport, and the Goldendale hatchery.

He graduated from Goldendale High School in 1976. In 1980, he received a BS from Whitworth College in Spokane, WA for his studies in chemistry. In 1988, he earned his master's degree in chemistry from Butler University.

He earned letters in track and field in high school. In addition, in 1976, he was part of a team of 12 runners that ran cross-country from Olympia, WA, to Washington, DC, to celebrate the country's bicentennial.

Dave worked at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis for over 33 years. He began his career in 1980 as a research chemist. In 2005 he began working in the legal department where he served as a patent consultant.

His father, who was an avid hunter and fisherman, imparted a love for the outdoors to him. Dave's family went on several trips in the North Cascades mountain range when they lived in Rockport. Dave's passion for the outdoors continued into his adulthood. In 1980, he went on a 40-day Canadian Arctic Barrens canoe trip in far northern Canada (Northwest Territories including present-day Nunavut).

Dave successfully climbed several mountains across the United States, especially in Washington. He climbed Mt. Adams in the Cascade Range on four separate occasions. Rock climbing was another outdoor activity that he picked up. He summited Devil's Tower in Wyoming twice. Devil's Lake State Park in Wisconsin was a personal favorite for rock climbing.

Dave began taking his children into the wilderness from their early youth. He, his wife, and children went on several backpacking and climbing trips in Washington and Wyoming. Later he took his children on canoe trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota as well as in Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario.

He enjoyed fishing in select locations in Indiana. He went on a fly-in fishing trip in a remote area of northern Ontario with friends. In the last few years of his life, he was an avid highpointer, trying to complete as many state high points as possible. He completed 32.

Dave was a frequent road traveler and had been in 46 U.S. states and eight Canadian provinces and territories.

Dave married Nancy Ellen Neel (Wilkinson), originally of Clermont, IN, on November 30, 1985.

In 1981, Dave became a member of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church, where he served as a deacon and in 2011 became a member of Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian Church in Brownsburg, IN. He is thankful to both churches for their ministry and care for him and his family. He was enthusiastic about Reformed theology and living as a Christian, values that he ensured were imparted to his wife and children.

He is survived by his parents Robert and Donna of Goldendale, WA; his loving wife of 28 years, Nancy; son Jay Neel; daughters Julie, Elizabeth, Jennifer, and Mary; sister Laurie Strom (Todd) of Meridian, ID; brothers William Neel (Jacqueline) of Seattle, WA; and Paul Neel (Jill) of Ferndale, WA.

Services were held at Zionsville United Methodist Church with visitation March 12, and funeral service March 13; with burial at Zionsville Cemetery.

Memorial Contributions in David's honor can be made to Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian or to the IU Foundation Attn .: Bigelow Open. Located at (


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