Thurman McNeillJune 2, 1949 ~ March 12, 2017 (age 67)
Thurman, was a man of very few words, though quick witted, and loved a good joke. Above all, he was a kind, generous, honest and overall good person. Many may recall his talent on the basketball courts while a student at Upchurch High School. But he also served honorably in the US Army, where he further honed his basketball skills. He served two tours in Vietnam and overall spent 11 years in the US Military. However, did you know he was a self-taught artist, who mastered various mediums including oils, acrylics and string art? He could also create unique tables out of glass, pine cones, shale, concrete or whatever was available. Furthermore, he was a fine carpenter, plumber and electrician who could build and repair practically anything. His greatest legacy however will be his children and grandchildren.
He loved his family. He really lit up over his grandchildren, but was truly overjoyed at the sight of Kaden, his great grandchild. Often, Thurman would reach beside his chair and give candy or chips to his little nieces and nephews that came into his house. Thurman was loved and cared for by his two wonderful sisters and caregivers: Betty Britton and Annie R. McNeill. They attended to all his wants and needs. Later in his life, he encountered health challenges that limited his physical abilities but not his sharp mental faculties.
He was born the fifth child of the late Bertha McNeill; and son of the late Hardy Bethea. He attended grade school at Upchurch High School and matriculated in 1968. Early in life he joined Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church where he was baptized at an early age. While he did not attend church regularly in adult life, he lived his life by the core teachings of Jesus Christ with respect to how he treated others. We celebrate his life and honor his memory. He will be another missing link in the family chain, who is already sorely missed.
In addition to his mother, the late Bertha Mae McNeill he was preceded in death by two brothers: Eugene McNeill and Richard A. McNeill.
Those left to cherish his fond memory are his children: Shelia McBryde of Raeford, NC, and Nigel Whaley of Newburgh, NY; his siblings: Betty Britton, Annie R. McNeill and Thomas McNeill (Rebecca) all of Raeford, NC, Dr. Calvin McNeill of Las Vegas, NV; grandchildren: Marquette McBryde of Alexandria, VA, and Tolisha Dent (Karseem) of Goldsboro, NC; one great grandchild, Kaden Dent of Greensboro, NC, along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.