Lonnie Ray Neel passed away on March 27, 2021 in El Campo. He was born Feb. 3, 1953 in Fort Campbell, Kn. to Norma Jean and Billy Ray Neel. Lonnie graduated from El Campo High School, class of ‘71, attended Wharton County Junior College and was a proud U.S. Marine. He returned to El Campo to marry the love of his life, Leigh Ann Halling and began a long career farming on Pierce Ranch. He was also owner/operator of Wild Wings Waterfowl and after retiring from farming he started a new career as a landman.
A man of numerous talents, his close friends knew him as “The Legend” or “Recon Ranger.” He loved good parties, was famous for his dance moves, and filled any room with his presence. An avid outdoorsman, he was a pilot, scuba instructor, played pretty good golf, could ski among the best and loved to hunt and fish. Matagorda Bay was his favorite place to be.
Lonnie is survived by his wife, Leigh Ann; daughter, Heather and son-in-law, Paul Smith of Tulsa; son, Chance of Houston; and three adored grandchildren, Amelia Anne, Everett Charles, and Halling Neel Smith. That damn cat, Herman, was also his special companion. Family vacations around the water or mountains were the highlight of his years as Popo. Sister, Denise Hlavaty and brothers Billy, Troy and their families also survive him.
Preceding him in death are his parents, brother Dennis and in-laws, Norma and Raymond Halling.
Family visitation will be 5 - 7 p.m. Monday, March 29 at Triska Funeral Home. Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 30 at First United Methodist Church and interment will follow at Garden of Memories cemetery.
Serving as pallbearers are Mark Collins, James Kainer, Donald Kainer, John Petty, Slade Harfst, Chad Graham, Larry Wayne Kotulek and Kenny Martin. Honorary pallbearers are James Bouligny, Speck Thornton, Greg Montello, Philip Miller and Tommy Johnson.
Memorials can be made to the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Association or the charity of one’s choice.
Condolences may be shared online at www.triskafuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Triska Funeral Home, El Campo.