January 6, 2019

MARALEE ADELE NEEL died at her home on Saturday, December 29, 2018, at the age of 98 years. She was the loving wife of the late Rev. Dr. Donald Edward Neel. Born January 7, 1920, in Vincent, Ohio, she was a daughter of the late Leonard W. Sheets and Eva Haner Sheets. In her childhood, her family traveled by houseboat down the Ohio River to Huntington, W.Va., where they set up residence. She attended public schools and graduated from Huntington High School as Salutatorian. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, and Master of Arts degree from Marshall University. Later, she received a Specialist in Education Degree from Georgia State University, Atlanta. A lifelong learner, she completed accredited courses at the University of Richmond and Union Theological Seminary, Richmond; Georgia State University, Atlanta; James Madison University, Harrisonburg; and St. Andrews University, Scotland. In 1945, Adele married her college sweetheart, Donald Edward Neel, a clergyman, and shared in his lifelong ministerial career. She taught on all levels of church educational programs, wrote and presented devotionals, created and directed children’s sermons, and specialized in all realms of Biblical theatrical presentations including writing, directing and acting in dramas and directing musicals. She supported her husband in his administrative work with Presbyteries, Norfolk and Harrisonburg; with the Synod of Virginia, Richmond; and with the Board of National Ministries, Atlanta. She wrote poetry and painted. Her husband had a collection of her writings and sermonettes printed in a volume titled “Through the Years.” Her career included teaching elementary students at public schools in Windham, Ohio; Huntington, W.Va.; Norfolk, Va.; and university students at Georgia State University, Atlanta. She is survived by her only child, Cheryl June Ritchie and husband Milton Charles Ritchie, Lynchburg, Va.; one granddaughter, Rachel Lauren Ritchie and husband Shane Gray Stimpson, and one great-granddaughter, Adelle “Addie” Grae Stimpson, Knoxville, Tenn. Her sister, Aldine Pollock, preceded her in death. At her request, the family plans a private memorial service. Heritage Funeral Service and Crematory, 427 Graves Mill Road, Lynchburg, VA (434-239-2405) is assisting the family. Memories and thoughts may be shared with the family at www.heritagefuneralandcremation.com.

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