Deuteronomy 15:1-10 The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
Robert (Bob) Alan McNeely, 76, chose to leave this world at home in Brooklyn, WI on January 10, 2022. Bob was born September 7, 1945 in Black River Falls Wisconsin to Chester and Ilene (Zimmerman) McNeely. In 1959 the family moved from Black River Falls to Clinton and then Sharon Wisconsin to farm. Bob graduated from Bigfoot High School in 1963 and University of Wisconsin Farm and Industry Short Course in March of 1964.
In 1963 at a Methodist Youth Fellowship gathering in Evansville, Bob met the oldest of farmer Duane "Buckwheat" Johnson's four daughters, Patricia. With big dreams and a few cows, they married at the Sharon United Methodist Church in Sharon, WI on August 26, 1965. Together they farmed "on shares" in Sharon and then cash rented a farm in Hebron, IL. It was while farming in Sharon that they were blessed with a bouncing baby boy, James Alan, to be followed in a few years by the apple of Bob's eye, Brenda Kay. After years of working hard they found a farm of their own in the beautiful rolling hills of Green County Wisconsin. They packed up the kids, house, cows and machinery and on a February day in 1973 the last load of cows and the McNeely's were firmly planted on the farm and land that would, serve them for generations to come. Bob took pristine care of Rollin' Green Dairy Farm. The cows were treated like queens, every tractor and piece of machinery serviced and shined.
Bob and Pat were blessed by setting down roots in the best neighborhood possible, filled with fellow farmers, children the same ages, wonderful cooks and lifelong friends. There were card clubs, potlucks, dances and putting many miles on their matching Polaris snowmobiles as members of the Brooklyn Sno-Hornets. The beautiful hills on their land were a bit of a contrast from the flat fields of Northern Illinois & South Eastern Wisconsin, so in the 1980's with the help of the conservation office, contour strips were put in place to preserve the soil and land in the best way possible.
Bob was proud to be honored for his hard work when the farm received the Green County Conservation Award. He was also honored to highlight the day-to-day operations of the farm to almost 4,800 people when the family hosted the Green County Breakfast on the Farm in 2017. Bob served for many years in several community organizations including the Union Co-op Board of Directors, Brooklyn Township Supervisor and Brooklyn Fire and EMS committee. He was a member of the Brooklyn Community United Methodist Church.
Farming can be tough on a guy and in 1999 Bob hung up his barn scraper and "went to town" to work at Wisco Industries in Oregon, WI. His attention to detail and pride in his work made him an ideal employee. Always ready to talk to anyone, he made many new friends and was a great co-worker. He continued to help on the farm when needed and was always available for the unlimited knowledge we relied on. He retired from Wisco in 2013 and was hired back at Rollin' Green Dairy Farm as Head of the Landscape Crew.
An advertisement for a toy tractor show created years of enjoyment hunting for and collecting toy tractors. Similar to the tractors he farmed with, Bob did not discriminate so every brand and color had a place on the shelves. A 1954 Allis Chalmers WD-45 started another, bit more expensive hobby, finding and helping restore "the real thing". Each tractor and implement had a story and he was proud to help bring them to their original glory and display them. One of the first tractors Bob and Pat purchased when they started farming, a 1969 John Deere 4020, had been used every day mixing feed for the cows until just a few weeks ago when "she" was retired to get ready for her new paint and polish.
Throughout his life, Bob also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and in more recent years camping at Duck Creek Campground in Wyocena. Bob and Pat again struck the neighborhood jackpot by choosing to follow his sister Linda and her husband Loren to this campground, making so many good friends along the way. Typical of the majority of close farming families, Bob has passed his duty of community service and the same hobbies onto his children and grandchildren.
Bob is survived by his wife of 56 years, Patricia (Johnson), son James (Jennifer), and daughter Brenda (Abel) Schultz. Grandchildren Jeffrey (Nicole) McNeely, Jamison (Amanda) McNeely, Jillian (Christopher) Malkow, Kevin Schultz and Cody (Monika) Schultz. Great grandchildren Adalyn, Chet, Maysen and Charles McNeely and Carson Malkow. Bob is further survived by brothers-in-law Loren Sprenkle and Bud Cavins, sisters-in-law Holly McNeely, Peggy (Bob) Kirkpatrick and Diane (Charles) Pearce, an Aunt Bonnie Walton, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. A dog lover his entire life, he also leaves behind his "boys" Bubba and Bandit.
Bob was predeceased by his parents, Chester and Ilene McNeely, mother and father in-law Duane and Annie Johnson, siblings, Ralph McNeely, Mary (Larry Sr.) Otto, Linda Sprenkle, and David McNeely. Sister in-law Pauline Cavins, brother in-law Duane Leseberg and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Private family services were held.
Memorials in Bob's name will be established at a later date.
In the words of Brian Brett, "Farming is a profession of hope." - Dad/Grandpa: We will find hope in every sunrise, hope in every sunset, and hope in every harvested crop and newborn calf. Hope in every job well done, and hope in the love of family and friends. And yes, we will always remember to "shut the damn door!"
Ward-Hurtley Funeral Home, Evansville is assisting the family with the arrangements.