Larry “Harry” Dean McNeese, a 38-year employee of Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont School District unexpectedly went to be with his Lord and Savior Monday morning March 6th, 2 days before his 71st birthday.
Harry was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa to Katherine (Vroegh), and William McNeese. He attended Oskaloosa schools his entire life, and while in high school he was a mechanic for VanZee motors. After graduation, he worked for Irving F Jensen Construction working his way up to heavy machinery. Later he moved on to Clow Valve Company as a tool and dye maker and then settled at the Hormel meat packing plant in Ottumwa. At Hormel, he worked many jobs, before becoming a supervisor. In 1983, along with opening his own farm fence business Harry went to work at the Eddyville School District as a Bus Driver. Later he took a job as a custodian. When Harry transferred to the Blakesburg school the students would get in trouble just to go work with him. The team had to change plans and use him as a reward incentive with the junior high students. All the kids and teachers loved him. He wasn’t just loved at the school, he was loved by his community. If anyone needed help, Harry was the first one to lend a helping hand. He was a jack of all trades. He could work on cars, do construction, do electrical work, plumbing, cut down trees, build fences, bake, cook, quilt, sew, weld, shoe horses, etc. He was an outdoorsman. In his younger years, he loved his yearly trips to Canada to fish on the Red River. He loved trapping, fishing, deer hunting, and coyote hunting, but most of all he loved coon hunting. He lived in Alaska and worked for the state of Alaska for a few years on the Aleutian Islands as a construction foreman. The highlight of his time was going out fishing on the charter boats after work. He hunted on mules in his younger years and almost didn't leave the timber in time when his wife went into labor with his daughter.
Along with hunting, Harry loved horses. He started out with hunting on mules, mule jumping competitions, and then 4-H, High School Rodeo, and IRCA Rodeo with his daughter. After his daughter retired from the rodeo, Harry and his wife started a new venture with draft horses and draft mules. They traveled all over with their hitch wagon, covered wagon, and buggies. They made many friends from all over and in the Amish communities.
Surviving him is his loving wife of 52 years, Carol Ann McNeese, Daughter: Buffie Ritz (Oskaloosa) Son-in-law’s: Levi Ritz and Billy Meyers (Oskaloosa) Grandchildren: Dylan Meyers (Eddyville) Kenzi Meyers, Ava Ritz, Izzy Ritz (Oskaloosa) Gage Ritz (Centerville) Sister: Shelli(Khamsame)Cavan (Rock Hill, SC), Sister-in-law’s: Myrna(Paul)Hynick(Eddyville), Nora Daily (Waco, Texas),(Evelyn Fiero, NM), Ellen(Chuck)McCrea, Nancy Steele, Alice McNeese(Oskaloosa)Janet(Wally)Wilson(DesMoines), Brother-in-law’s: Jake Azlin(Eddyville), Chuck Stringfellow (Albia), Nieces: Tracey(Wayne)Versteeg, Paula Simplot, Vicki Arias, Cindy Gordan, Tamara Steele, Sherri Steele, Wanda Steele, Shelly Thomas, Sheila Behymer, Saralyn Dahly, Brenda Cowlishaw, Melinda Spoor, Becky Durst, Alicia VanderVeer, JeanMarie Fiero, Angela Wertz, Joy Plackett, Nephews: Andrew Hynick, Harold Hynick, Jim McCrea, Eddy Fiero, Chad Stringfellow, Scott Wilson, Brian Wilson. Aunts: Joan Vroegh and Donna Vroegh. Special Friends Brian Kaster and Mark Haselhun.
He is preceded in Death by his Parents: William (Bill)McNeese and Kate and Max Cox. Brother: Mike McNeese, Mother and Father-in-law Hubert, Laverne, and Edith Steele, Infant Child: Katie McNeese Sister-in-law’s: Karen Azlin and JoEllen Stringfellow, Brother-in-laws’:Gary Steele, Frank Dahly, and Edward Fiero.
Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 11, 2023 at the Eddyville High School with Pastor Nick Hughes officiating. Visitation will also be held on Saturday from 9:30-10:30 a.m., at the Eddyville High School. Harry's body will be cremated following services. Memorials may be directed to St. Jude Children's Hospital. Online condolences may be left for the family at eddyvillefuneralChapel.com or the Eddyville Funeral Chapel Facebook page.