Gene died peacefully at Bell Mountain Care Center on Aug. 16 after a long struggle with the effects of stroke.
Gene was born in Alliance, Fla., on Nov. 17, 1935, to William Jefferson Neel and Lois Wimberly. He played basketball at Altha High School and moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover in the late 1950s and attended George Washington University. Gene was very good at math (he could use different number systems like hexadecimal in his head) and applied for a job with IBM from an advertisement on a matchbook cover listing programming jobs in the early 1960s.
Gene worked for IBM for approximately 20 years before becoming a coin dealer under the name “Genial Galleries.” He was a happy person with a great sense of humor and a generous spirit. At one time he was the largest commemorative coin dealer in the country advertising in Coin World. He loved the history and politics associated with the past and admired the beauty in the designs of our coinage. He also was interested in the family’s genealogy; most of the Neel men died in the Revolutionary War, contributing to his interest in history and the shortage of people with the Neel surname.
Gene is survived by his children, Jeff, Michael, Carla, Carianne, Kym; step-children James McDonough and Jennifer Southworth; and former spouses, Nancy (Funicelli) Neel and Norma Biggs. His brother Carroll is deceased; his brother Marion disappeared mysteriously and is presumed deceased.
Gene and his family offer their most sincere thanks for his care to the wonderful staff at Blaine Manor/Bell Mountain where he resided since 2001. We are very appreciative to have this facility in our community.
The family will have private services to celebrate Gene’s life.
Friends are invited to visit www.woodriverhapel.com to share memories, photos and light a candle.