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September 8, 2016 • Obituaries
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William “Bill” T. Neal, Jr.

It is with a heavy heart and tear-filled eyes that we post that William (Bill) T. Neal, Jr., 64, passed away on Monday, September 5, 2016. His family was by his side, at his home, when he peacefully drifted off to be with the Lord. Bill was born on September 10, 1951 in Batesville, to the late William T. and Opal (Robertson) Neal, Sr. He graduated from Jac-Cen-Del Jr.-Sr. High School in 1969 and married his high school sweetheart, Lila (Coyle) Neal on February 6, 1970, at Mud Pike Baptist Church outside of Osgood. Together, they attended Purdue University where he received a degree in animal science in 1973. Upon graduation, the couple returned to and would remain in Osgood.

Bill embodied a true entrepreneurial spirit. He was a hard worker who strived for perfection; as a result, he accomplished much success during his career. He opened his first business in 1973, Heritage Homes, a mobile home retail company. In 1978, he went to work for Versailles Motors while obtaining his real estate license. In 1979, he took a broker position with Meisberger & Associates and while there received top sales honors. Bill then started Heritage Realty and Construction Company in 1983. He spent the next nine years of his life selling homes and developing sub-divisions throughout southeastern Indiana. During this period of time, he was among one of the top national associates for Unibilt Homes. In 1987, he and his wife bought the funeral home in Osgood. Although Lila has run the business, Bill helped her out daily throughout the years.

By 1992, he decided to close the construction company and turn his lifelong passion for collectible firearms into a business with the opening of Willy’s Pawn & Gun Shop. He then became an active member of the Indiana Pawnbrokers, Colt Collectors, Winchester Arms, Ohio Gun Collectors and National Rifle Associations. He spent these years going to work every day with a smile and was honored to be named Ripley County’s Business Person of the Year in 1998. His hard work and dedication paid off, given in 2002, he was able to semi-retire. He then spent the rest of his days traveling the country buying and selling private antique gun collections. Through this endeavor, he met a variety of interesting clients, who became some of his dearest friends who traveled from far and wide to spend time with him during his final days.

From a civic stand-point, Bill felt he had been blessed to have lived in such an amazing community. Throughout his lifetime, he tried to give back by serving on various philanthropic boards and organizations. He was a leader of Boy Scout Troup 638 from 1973 to 1978 and chaired the committee for years after. He was a lifetime member and past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the United Methodist Church; past president of the Osgood Development Foundation; three time president of the Osgood Civic Club; and 15-year member and past president of the Ripley County Parks & Recreation Board. Other groups in which Bill was honored to serve included the Osgood Masonic Lodge 603, Scottish Rite Valley of Indianapolis, Southeastern Indiana Shrine Club, Indianapolis Murat Shrine, and the Sons of the American Legion.

Aside from his work and civic duties, Bill had a vast array of hobbies. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. Following a 30-year tradition, he was able to travel to Michigan this past Fourth of July for one last family fishing trip. He believed in land conservation as he partnered with the USDA and DNR on various soil and wetland conservation projects. In addition, he was a lifelong member of Ducks Unlimited and contributed to a number of wildlife preservation efforts. He loved his farm, as he spent several years crop farming and raising purebred cattle. He, his wife, and their children were actively involved in 4-H and the Indiana and National Polled Hereford Associations where they traveled the country exhibiting and showing their cattle. Luckily, he was able to see this passion reignite when his grandchildren entered the show ring after a 20 year hiatus. He also enjoyed John Deere Gator rides through the woods with his two canine friends, Colt and Chester, cooking, and seeking out the best restaurants in the United States. No matter where you were headed, Bill could tell you where to eat and what was the best item on the menu.

However, the greatest testament to his life came from the admiration he had for and received from his family and friends. Bill was a loyal person and a straightforward advisor. Once in his circle, his love for you was unwavering. He spent 46-plus years with the love of his life, with whom together, raised three children and spoiled five grandchildren, whom he totally adored. He also deeply cared about everyone else in his extended family and cherished his friends. Although his life was cut a bit shorter than what he would have preferred, he knew he had lived a good one and had been blessed. He believed in God and was content to know his legacy would live on through his family and friends.

Bill is survived by his wife, Lila (Coyle) Neal; daughter, Shannon (Jeff) McLeod (Greensburg); son, Travis (Toya) Neal (Osgood); son, Frederick (Alesha) Neal (Osgood); five grandchildren, Molly and Mason McLeod; Will and Aubrey Neal; and Olivia Neal; his stepmother Betty Neal (Osgood); sister Beth (Neal) Baylor (Lawrenceburg); and brother Scott Neal (Osgood).

Visitation will be held at Neal’s Funeral Home in Osgood, Friday, September 9, from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. His funeral will be held on Saturday, September 10, at the Osgood United Methodist Church at 9:00 a.m. Entombment will immediately follow at the Mud Pike Cemetery near Osgood. Memorials can be made to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital or the Cincinnati Children’s Shrine Hospital. Arrangements were made by Neal’s Funeral Home in Osgood, Indiana.

James Leonard Webster

James Leonard Webster, 70, of Moores Hill, passed away Thursday, September 1, 2016. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Sibbett-Moore Funeral Home, Moores Hill is entrusted with arrangements.

James E. Hook

James E. Hook, age 75, of Mount Gilead, died Thursday, September 1, 2016 at Riverside Methodist Hospital. He was born on May 4, 1941 to the late Benjamin and Thelma (Day) Hook.

James served as an Airman First Class in the United States Air Force from 1959 to 1963 where he was a radar technician. After his time in the Air Force, James spent 32 years with Columbia Gas where he later retired.

James was a man of many gifts as he filed several patents during his time at Columbia Gas. He never met a stranger, and was a fantastic storyteller. In the 80’s James served on the building committee that built the Junior High School for Highland. He was an avid bowler and enjoyed playing in various leagues. James loved catching up with old friends at the annual campout. He would never miss any of his grandkids events. James also enjoyed watching the local truck and tractor pulls at the county fair. James was fortunate enough to enjoy 20 years of retirement, doing the things he loved.
On May 29, 1965 James married Patricia Ketchum in Osgood, who survives in Mount Gilead.

In addition to his wife, James is survived by his children: Andrew (Mitzi) Hook of Galion, Rebecca (Keith) Queener of Cardington, and Christopher (Crystal) Hook of Mount Gilead; 11 grandchildren and three great grandchildren; siblings: Nancy Bruns of Plainfield, Sarah (Gerald) Webster of Port Orange, FL and Clara Jackman of Columbus; 14 nieces and nephews; sister-in-laws, Carolyn and (Gene) Back and Janet (Nick) Osier both of Bradenton, FL; brother-in-laws, Dan and (Sue) Ketchum of Versailles, and Richard (Carla) Ketchum of Broken Arrow, OK. In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by a sister, Marguerite Couvillion and a brother, George Hook.

Funeral services were held Monday, September 5, at the Gompf Funeral Home, Cardington, with Pastor Paul Turner officiating. Burial was in the Glendale Cemetery with full military honors. Those wishing to share a memory of James or to express a condolence to the Hook family may do so by visiting Gompf Funeral Home, in Cardington, was in charge of arrangements.

Rebecca S. Cole

Rebecca S. Cole, 52, of Versailles, passed away Sunday, September 4, 2016 as the result of an automobile accident near Napoleon. She was born at Greensburg on January 29, 1964, the daughter of Gerald and Carol Bevars Powers. She was married to Wendell Cole on March 7, 1986 and he survives.

Other survivors include one son, Michael (Jacob Cooper) Cole of Louisville, Kentucky; one daughter, Myranda (Justin) Horan of Madison; her mother and stepfather Carol and Glen Schwanholt of Versailles; stepmother Margaret Powers of Columbus; three sisters, Jeanie (Don) Duerstock of Greensburg, Terri Powers of Versailles, and Peggy Crawford of Jacksonville, Florida; one stepbrother John Schwanholt of Versailles; stepsister Joann Luedeman of North Vernon, and a host of brothers and sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews, and in particular two nieces who adored her, Aimee Cromer and Amanda Scheel. She was preceded in death by her father, her grandparents Floyd and Laura Bevars and Charles and Mary Powers, and her father and mother-in-law Everett and Dorothy Cole.

Becky was a former employee of the Jefferson County Correctional facility in Madison. She had also worked at Blue Flame in Versailles and was a long time employee of the Ripley County Bank. Her favorite past times included doing things with her kids, going to yard sales, attending plays, fishing,and she had also adopted making stained glass ornaments as a hobby. She also enjoyed spoiling her dog Cooper and her cats Chloe and Sam.

Funeral services were held at the Stratton-Karsteter Funeral Home, Versailles, with Bro. Tim Heim of the Shelby Christian Church officiating. Memorials may be given to the donor’s choice in care of the funeral home.

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