My long silence on this blog gave me time with my family to mourn my Grandma Becca’s passing and celebrate her life. I got to hear a lot of stories about her, including quite a few from before I had the honor of knowing her. She lived a long, full life. I’m just glad to have been a part of it. For those who are interested, this is the obituary that we wrote for her:
Mary Rebekah Andrews McNeill died on August 30, 2013 at the Hospice Center of Charleston. Rebekah (Becca) was the daughter of James Thomas Andrews and Mary Daniel Andrews. She was born on August 1, 1922 in Thomaston, GA, but had an adventurous childhood moving around the American Southwest with her family. Her father had served as a Marine during World War I and had sustained mustard gas damage during the Battle of the Argonne. The young family was encouraged to move from Georgia to the dry desert air of the Southwest, where Becca and her older brother, James, learned to swim in irrigation canals, rode to school on a donkey, and watched a Tom Mix movie being filmed in the desert.
Becca’s family later returned to Atlanta, GA, where she graduated from Atlanta Girls High School in 1938 and Agnes Scott College in 1942. It was during her time at Agnes Scott that she was introduced to Mac, a friend of her older brother at Georgia Tech. Their romance blossomed through their correspondence while he served with the Mighty 8th Air Corps in England during World War II. She jokingly said Mac really needed spell check as he referred to her as his “dear Angle” for the three years of their correspondence.
Becca married the love of her life, Capt. Hector McAllister McNeill, on July 18, 1945. During their 41 years of marriage they lived in Danville, VA, Virginia Beach, VA and Birmingham, MI. When Mac retired from the Ford Motor Co. in 1979 they moved to Mt. Pleasant, SC, where they shared a happy retirement of golfing, volunteering, and boating together. Becca was predeceased by Mac in 1986.
Becca had a long and varied career. During the war, she worked for the US Army at Fort McPherson. She later worked for the Child and Family Agency of Norfolk, VA, and was a Girl Scout Field Director in Royal Oak, MI. She also volunteered for years at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. Becca was an active member of First (Scots) Presbyterian Church as long as her health permitted, and a lifelong volunteer within her community. She was a former Regent of the Rebecca Motte DAR chapter in Charleston, a member of the Charleston Symphony League, and avid gardener and member of the Snee Farm Garden Club, and a “hole in one” golfer.
She is survived by her daughters, Rev. Dr, Sandra Kern (David L.) and Kay McNeill Harkins (Kenneth). Also surviving her are her beloved grandchildren: Allison Kern Nevins, Craig Kern, David Lee Kern, Caroline Harkins McCarty, and Emily Harkins; and four precious great-grandchildren: Quentin, James, Edward, and Celia Kern; and her two sisters: Jean Eager of Albany, GA and Virginia Eisenhardt of Decatur, GA. Becca was preceded in death by her beloved brother, James Thomas Andrews.
Many loving hands cared for Becca in the years preceding her death. The family thanks Sandy Freeman, Sweetgrass Court, Roper Mt. Pleasant, Lutheran Hospice, Dr. Rex Morgan, East Cooper Medical Center, and the Hospice Center of Charleston.