Graveside services for Neal Jay Eller, 81, Lawrence, will be Monday at 2pm, November 2nd at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Neal passed away early Wednesday morning, October 28, at Brandon Woods with his wife, Becky, at his side.
Neal was born November 4, 1938, in Lawrence, the son of Leo and Dorothy Eller. He graduated from Lawrence High School in 1956 and has been a lifelong resident of Lawrence except for a very short time he lived in Arkansas. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Carol Eller McCaffrey.
Prior to his retirement on November 30, 2004, Neal worked for many years as a finish carpenter and shop foreman at Gene Fritzel Construction. He was an excellent woodworker and had the opportunity to produce special doors, windows, and other features for upscale homes. Neal was especially proud of a spiral staircase he built for a local couple whose home was featured in a national magazine. After his retirement Neal enjoyed working in his own customized woodshop which he built at his home. He loved making keepsake rocking horses and wagons for his grandchildren as well as other projects such as outbuildings and a chicken house for Becky’s chickens.
Neal married Dorothy Jean Roper on March 8, 1958, in Nowata, OK. They divorced. He married Celinda Sue Archer in May, 1969. They divorced. He married Rebecca Ann Phillips on November 8, 1986. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include a daughter, Lisa Eller, Euless, Texas; a son, David Eller (Paula Zeller), Topeka; a daughter, Piper Reimer (James Reimer), Prairie Village; a daughter, Shanna Eller (Marty Segal), Lawrence; and a son, Jay Eller (Wendy Eller), Lawrence. Neal loved and adored his 8 grandchildren, Olivia Eller, Annie Eller, Neal J. Eller, Nash Reimer, Will Reimer, Hale Reimer, Leo Eller, and Arlo Eller. He had one nephew, Michael Leo McCaffrey, Lawrence.
Neal was an avid reader, he loved Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, and Dean Koontz among many authors. He enjoyed visiting with his good friends and drinking coffee in his kitchen. Neal also loved all animals, especially his cats and family dogs. He was never a fan of squirrels. He was a die-hard Ford man. He enjoyed Jeeps and Colorado mountain Jeep trails. He made friends easily and could talk to anyone on any subject. His great sense of humor made him a joy to be around.
Friends may call from 3 pm to 4 pm Sunday at Rumsey-Yost funeral home, where the family will be receiving them.
The family suggests memorials to Lawrence Humane Society, sent in care of the funeral home.
Online condolences may be sent at www.rumsey-yost.com
Messages & Condolences
So sorry and surprised to read about Neal’s passing. Dad (Melvin Copp) and I were just talking about him a couple of weeks ago because Dad wanted to come visit when it was safe from the virus. I have many fond memories of Neal and visiting at the house in the country. He was one of the sweetest men I’ve ever known. We had hoped to come to the visitation on Sunday as Dad wanted to visit with all of his kids, but his own health issues prevented that from happening. Please know that the Copp family is thinking about you all and sending our thoughts and prayers. Melvin Copp and Jon and Tammy (Copp) Barta and family.
My thoughts and prayers to Neal’s family. I met Neal in high school, he was 1-1/2 years older than me but we hit it off immediately and had a lot of fun for several years, he will be missed, Rest in peace old friend, Bob Howard
To the Eller family. You are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time in your life. Neal was a wonderful man, and will be missed.
Piper, Shannon, Jay, Lisa, Becky and Cindy
Neal was one of my very favorite people. He was always cheerful and a joy to talk to. Getting to know him and his family was such a pleasure. We go way back from when Cindy drove the school bus. My thoughts will be with all of you.
My very favorite Neal story! He and I were working in the old shop below M&M office supply. Detective Mike McCaffrey, Neal’s brother-in-law, pulled up in the alley. He would come by occasionally to say hi to Neal. This time, Neal and I decided to shoot nail guns at the door, just as he was coming in. There were 3 doors to get into the shop, two air lock doors and the third to get into the shop. We heard the first two doors open and closed, and waited for or opportunity. Third door cracked open! We both opened up with our nail guns, Nails flying everywhere! Door closed abruptly! We either ran out of nails, or air, I don’t remember which, but soon it was silent! After a few seconds, the door slowly cracked open, and through came a service revolver in one hand, and detective badge in the other.
Neal and I surrender quickly, and we all had a great laugh!
We were always doing crazy stuff like this!
I MISS MY FRIEND!
Neal was a great friend of mine. Nearly 45 years. One of the best craftsmen I have ever known, and my company has some great ones. Neal was 19 years older than me, but I think he saw in me that I was worth teaching! He was a great teacher of the carpentry trade. We hit it off right away, he the old man and I the young punk college kid, but with great respect for each other.
In my 5 to 10 years I spent in the shop with him, I must say we had more fun than two employees should have, always cutting up and joking about!
Two sayings from Neal that that will always stick with me, One serious and one not. “When you think you have sanded Your work piece enough, sanded some more.“ Best advice I have ever gotten and I pass it along to anyone who will listen. He said many times, “anything with feathers shall not cross my lips”. He wasn’t a fan of fowl! Many, many stories we don’t have time for here.
I MISS MY FRIEND!
Piper, Shanna, Jay, and Family,
Oh no… I am so sorry to hear about Neal’s passing and my love, Prayer, and thoughts are with him, you, and all of your family. GRR… I hate this.
I have known Neal for at least four decades. He was a friend of so many people – in Lawrence for sure undoubtedly- but that is probably an understatement.
He helped me out on some things that nobody could quite a while back. And if you asked my late Uncle, Pete Harnar, he always said that Neal was THE BEST Carpenter in the State, and probably the Midwest. Uncle Pete was right.
Neal was always very kind and considerate to me. I thank him so much for that.
God bless a very good man that I had the pleasure to know.
Beckie & family, We will really miss Neal too. You & Neal have been the best “nextdoor” neighbors anyone could ask for. Dale enjoyed many visits & cups of coffee with Neal. We are always here for you. 🤗🙏
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Neal was a wonderful person and so fun to be around. I know you will miss him very much.
Becky, I’m so sorry for your loss. You and Neal were wonderful neighbors when we lived in Berg Acres. Neal always had a smile and he will be missed by so many.
Neal was one of my dad’s (Art Sommer) best friends. And like a father to me. Dad passed last year and Neal spoke often of how much he missed Art. Now my heart aches missing them both.
Yet a smile comes to my face at thoughts of them together again, most likely drinking coffee.
We’ve all lost a good man.
Becky, I am so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
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