Obituary Caroline McNeill
November 8, 2017
Caroline McNeill, a 24-year resident of Nevada City, passed away Sunday, October 29 in Oroville, California at age 92. She was born of Dutch parents on the island of Singkep, east of Sumatra, in Dutch Colonial Indonesia. Singkep was then a leading producer of tin, and her father was an on-site civil engineer. Early fond memories, heard by friends and family, included her father bringing home stray dogs and birds, seeding a love of creatures which she retained the rest of her life.
The abundant plant life of Indonesia inspired a life-long passion for gardening. The family relocated over the years to the Java cities of Batavia (now Jakarta), Bandung, and finally Surabaya, where she attended high school. Her Indonesian life changed forever with the March, 1942 invasion of Indonesia by the Japanese. Separated from her father, she, her mother, and younger brother were interred in Japanese camps for the war's duration.
Following Japanese surrender, a consequence of the independent Indonesia nationalist movement was the expulsion of Dutch nationals. Her family resettled in Den Haag, the Netherlands.
She married Theodore H. McNeill in 1949, and three sons were born over the next five years. The family immigrated to Garden Grove, California, in September, 1956, shortly thereafter moving to South Pasadena, and ten years later, to Fairfield in Northern California. She was an acclaimed lab technician specializing in immunology research at Caltech in Pasadena, and later the Medical and Veterinary Schools at the University of California, Davis. Carla and Ted went their separate ways in 1981.
On a visit with friends in Nevada City in 1992, she fell for the area, and determined to move there, she sold her home in Davis, packed up, and moved on. Carla was a familiar sight over the years at the Ridge Racquet Club, Music in the Mountains, the New Moon Restaurant, in the yard in which she planted and nurtured striking foliage, and on walks around town with her dogs. Feisty to the end, one could usually engage in an invigorating discussion with Carla. She suffered a stroke in February of this year, and she rapidly declined dealing with the dementia that followed.
She is survived by her sons and their wives in the Bay Area, Ian & Laurie Miller, Ted & Ruth Graham, and Peter & Jennifer Rice, six grandchildren (Lauren, Lindsey, Keri, Leslie, Hannah, and Scott – 5 girls!), five great grandchildren (Grace, Abby, Hudson, Dottie, and Harper – 4 girls!), and her nephews (Jan Peter, Paul, and Hans) in Amsterdam, sons of her beloved younger brother Jan deGeus, who passed before her.
The family thanks many for the kindness and friendship extended to Caroline McNeill, including her fellow Ridge Racquet Club members, Partners in Care personnel, Roseleaf Senior Living & Memory Care Community in Oroville, Hazel Shewell, Joanie McClellan, Sheila Stein, so many others, and her wonderful caring neighbors Alan Bunker and Jim Davis. Thank you all!
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m., November 19, at the Ridge Racquet Club, 2041 Ridge Road, Grass Valley. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Sammie's Friends – Nevada County Animal Shelter in Grass Valley.