William Leonard McNeill Jr (Len) of Traverse City Michigan died at home on Friday June 23 2023. Len was preceded in death by his mother Patsy Ruth McNeill (Pat), and his father William Leonard McNeill Sr (Bill) of Pontiac Michigan (where Len was raised) and also by his beloved girlfriend Peggy Lee. Len is survived by his daughters Stephanie McNeill and Alyssa McNeill (Mike Batchelder), his stepson Jason Lee (Jen) and his beloved grandchildren Charles Brown, Kiera Beland, Aurora McNeill, Jackson McNeill, Daniel Batchelder, Curtis Batchelder, and Brayden Lee. He is also survived by his beloved sister Ruth Ann Laing (Roger) and his niece Jennifer Chartrand (Matt Chartrand and their sons Braxton and Ayden) and nephew Ryan Laing.
In youth Len and his sister were participants in a traveling unicycle troupe out of Pontiac. He often spoke of this with joy and pride. Eventually even volunteering to demonstrate a small show for his youngest daughter’s class, riding across the gym on his 8-foot unicycle. He rode a unicycle as tall as fifteen feet high and they traveled all over the Michigan. It is in these days, during their Cherry Festival shows that he fell in love with the city he landed in for the end of his career and in his retirement. Len loved Traverse City. He was very proud of his sliver of the bay view from his deck. He was proud of his town, passionate about its music and its food.
Len was a hard worker and a passionate music lover. He spent 25 years working as a Sports Automotive manager for Kmart. He started his path at the Kmart on Opdyke in Auburn Hills where he met who would become his wife and the mother of his daughters, Linda McNeill (Indish). Though eventually divorcing, they were good friends through his last years as he battled bladder cancer.
From Auburn Hills to Traverse City where their first daughter was born, and then to Alpena, where his second daughter was born, for most of his Kmart career. Alpena was then home for nearly two decades. He made many friends who became family and his very "city" experience became even more diverse as he settled into "up north life".
After divorce and many changes within kmart, he started the new millennium switching careers bravely for another 20 years with AT&T. Heading into phone business he knew nothing about, yet he still gained the respect of coworkers in both his landline and cellular positions all over Michigan up to and past his retirement. Covering all of the Upper Peninsula and most of Western Michigan, he worked hard tirelessly and was respected for it. Known for his humor, his techs still lovingly use his "Len-ism's. He made friends everywhere he went and they often became family.
Len was extremely passionate about music. Happy to educate anyone on the lineage of any musician he knew anything about. He attended concerts from the time he was a teen and never stopped. He eagerly shared that love with anyone who would let him. He loved food. He loved culture. He loved family. He loved the goodness of people around him and did his best to help it shine.
Friends and family are encouraged to join for a casual memorial service at The Elks Lodge at 625 Bay St, Traverse City, MI 49684 on Saturday August 5, 2023 from 1pm to 4pm. Hors d'oeuvres will be provided and a bar available. The family requests casual dress and joy. Any stories to share would be appreciated as he would appreciate a celebration. As per his wishes, Len has been taken for cremation from Karpus Hunter and Ross Funeral home in Alpena Michigan. In lieu of flowers the family respectfully requests donations to the American Cancer Society in his honor. Online condolences may be registered at www.karpushuntercares.com