Obituary for C.B. McNeil
C.B. McNeil, 80, of Polson passed away on Thursday, April 20, 2017 in Polson after a brief illness. He was born February 17, 1937 in Anaconda, MT and was proud to be a 5th generation Montanan. After attending the School of Mines in Butte, MT he completed his Bachelors of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in 1959. While in school he was in Army ROTC, and earned his pilot wings before his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant.
On December 27, 1958 he married the love of his life, JoAnn, his wife of 58 years and together they raised 2 children, Chuck and Jolie. While in the military, he was stationed in Germany as an Army aviator flying the German/Czech border. While contemplating what he might do after the military, he "borrowed" an Army airplane and flew to Heidelberg to take the Law School Admission Test. He was honorably discharged as a Captain in 1963.
His love for the outdoors, fishing, hunting, skiing and all that Montana has to offer led to their decision to move to Missoula, where he graduated from the UM School of Law in 1966, and then they moved to Polson. He practiced law with Jean Turnage and John Mercer in Polson until 1984 when he was elected as the first district judge for the 20th Judicial District and Turnage was elected to the MT Supreme Court. During his 29 years on the bench, he presided over 27,266 district court cases, including 223 jury trials to verdict. He was a delegate to the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention and was proud to have helped author many of the environmental protections afforded to Montana citizens under our Constitution.
He was a family man first, and enjoyed all possible opportunities to attend activities and sporting events involving his kids, and grandkids. Over the years he coached little league, taught his kids how to ski, fish, hunt and to enjoy and respect the outdoors. He was active in Jaycees, Polson Outdoors, Flathead Lakers, and the Shriners. He will be missed.
C.B. is survived by his wife, JoAnn, his son Chuck (Joni) McNeil, his daughter Jolie (Marty) Vigen, his grandkids Jace (Emilie) McNeil, Maria (Bill) Williams, Bethany McNeil, Catie Vigen, Julia Vigen, and his great-grandson, Bodie Williams.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Court Appointed Special Advocates ("CASA") in Lake and Sanders Counties, which C.B. helped establish in his Court, or to a charity of your choice.
Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday April 29, 2017, at the Linderman Gymnasium in Polson, MT. Interment will follow at Lakeview Cemetery with Military Honors. Arrangements are under the care of The Lake Funeral Home and Crematory, Polson. Messages of condolences may be sent to the family on line at lakefuneralhomeandcremation.com.