Esther A. (Dickey) McNeal, 84, of Curwensville went home to be with the Lord on Friday Dec. 13, 2013 at her residence.
Born Dec. 4, 1929 in Bells landing during a horrific blizzard, she was delivered by her own father, the late Joseph R. Dickey, and mother Laoma (Straw) Dickey Kime.
As a 3-year-old child, she suffered a knee injury that left her with a lifetime disability. Old Dr. Waterworth, the founder of the Clearfield Hospital, was the only surgeon on the East Coast who would operate on a child with her injury and resulting infection. He successfully saved her life.
She graduated from Curwensville High School in 1948 and then from the “then” Clarion State Teacher’s College in 1952 with a double education major in English and mathematics. Her mother taught her to play the piano at a very early age, and she played for more than 70 years as a church pianist/organist. Proverbs 3:5-6 were her life verses. She was a member of the Cherry Corner Bible Church.
She substituted as a teacher for years while raising three daughters and was instrumental in the groundwork for the start and subsequent establishment of the DuBois Christian Schools. The last 17 years of her teaching career were spent in the secondary education of juniors and seniors at DuBois Christian Schools.
On Aug. 9, 1953 in Bells Landing, she wed Lewis J. “JC” McNeal and who preceded her in death on Dec. 16, 2010. “JC” was also a teacher. She was also preceded in death by her parents; a daughter, Denise Norris; a grandson, Logan Norris; four brothers, William “Clyde,” David Charles “Chuck,” Perry “Russell;” an infant, Joseph Dickey; and an infant sister, Ruth. She was the last member of her generation
Surviving are two daughters, Cheryl Harbridge and her husband, Bruce of Brockway and Anita Wood and her husband, Donald of Hershey, as well as eigh grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
There will be no public visitation and private graveside services at Watts Cemetery will be held at the convenience of the family. A public memorial service will be held at the Cherry Corner Bible Church with Pastor George W. Solley officiating. The date of this service will be announced at a later time.
The family suggests contributions be made to the Cherry Corner Bible Church.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.chidboyfuneralhome.com.
The Chester C. Chidboy Funeral Home Inc. of Curwensville is in charge of the arrangements.