Richard Henry Neill, Oak Ridge

Richard Henry Neill
1946-2024

Richard Neill passed away on March 27, 2024. He was the son of the late Frank Henry Neill and Erna Brown Neill. He was born September 17, 1946, at Ft. Sanders Hospital in Knoxville where his mother had completed nurses’ training. He grew up in Oak Ridge and treasured the memories of growing up in the Secret City.  

 In 1964, Richard graduated from Oak Ridge High School and was a member of the marching band.  He went on to play in the band at Vanderbilt University. Following Vanderbilt graduation in 1968, he married his Vanderbilt classmate, Barbara, in her hometown of Savannah, GA, and began graduate school at the University of Georgia in Forestry. He was drafted for military service during the final years of the Vietnam Conflict.  He served in the US Army Intelligence Agency and was stationed in Germany.  As he liked to say, he was proud to serve “for 41 months and 20 minutes.” After his time in the Army, he returned to Georgia and completed his Masters in Forest Ecology and then earned a PhD in Forest Genetics. He loved the art and science of growing things (except broccoli) and helping others learn about the botanical world including Latin plant names. His career included teaching at the college level, agricultural/forestry research, regulatory compliance, and environmental restoration. He retired from the Agricultural Research Service of the US Dept. of Agriculture.  For many years, he was an avid rose grower and loved to share his most beautiful roses. He was a member of the American Rose Society.

Richard went by many names: Doc, husband, brother, father-in-law, Ricardo, Grumps, and Dad.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Frankenfield Neill; his daughter Sara Neill Norman; son-in-law Bailey Norman; grandson, James Henry Norman, all of Oak Ridge. He is also survived by his sister Barbara Carolyn Neill, her husband Larry Jones, their sons and grandchildren; Christopher (wife Ruth, Kylie and Isaac), Damien, and Nicholas (Amanda) Neill-Jones all of Portland, Oregon. He was also blessed with many wonderful, continuing friendships from childhood on.

The family wishes to particularly thank the Lay Eucharistic Ministers of St. Stephens Episcopal Church for faithfully bringing communion to Richard.  Additional thanks go to the caring nurses and respiratory therapists in the ICU at Methodist Medical Center and the North Knoxville Select Specialty Hospital.  

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, April 27th at 2:00 pm at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.  A reception at the church will follow. 

Memorials remembrances in lieu of flowers are suggested to St. Stephen’s, 212 N. Tulane Ave, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, or to the ARS Research Trust of the American Rose Society, PO Box 30000, Shreveport, LA 71130.

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