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Patti Marie McNeal,52 of Brookston, Texas, joined her Lord and Savior on Friday, January 25, 2013, after a three-year struggle with breast cancer. She passed peacefully at her home, surrounded by those whom she lived for, loved, and cherished.
Patti was born on March 4, 1960 in Kaufman, Texas, the second daughter of James Allen and Margaret Lee Wooten. She spent the majority of her life in the Dallas area, but also lived in Texas City, Kaufman, and Blue Ridge, before settling down in Brookston in 1996.
A 1978 graduate of W.W. Samuell High School in Dallas, Texas, Patti attended East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas, where she received her degree and certification in Elementary Education in 1984. On August 4, 1984, Patti married her best friend and love of her life, Keith McNeal (known as Richard only to her), and together they raised two children.
Throughout the years, Patti taught at Kaufman, Blue Ridge, and Roxton Elementary schools. Though she taught second and fourth grade, and special education, Patti’s true passion was in kindergarten, which she taught in Kaufman from 1984-1993; Blue Ridge from 1992-1997; and in Roxton from 2002 until 2010. Patti’s greatest pleasure came from watching a child’s learning process grow. She was often heard reciting her favorite quote: “All I need to know, I learned in kindergarten.” She was lucky to have found her true calling, and to fulfill it with so much devotion and love.
Patti and those who knew her were blessed with someone of truly unique character, and an uncommonly kind and honest soul. She will best be remembered by those who love her as someone who possessed an unparalleled love for art, animals, children, and family, and a remarkable ability to see the beauty in everything.
Patti was preceded in death by her parents, and her sister Judy.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her two children, son Brad and daughter Courtney McNeal; her sisters, Diane Sarratt and Dorothy Hayslip; brothers, Michael Tallent and James (Jimmy) Wooten Jr.; four nieces, Melissa Hyatt, Ashley Stevens, and Serena and Katie Hayslip; three nephews, Clayton Sarratt, and James and Steven Wooten; two great-nieces, Paige and Araceli Sarratt; a great-nephew, Aiden Stevens; cousins, Donald and Scott Galyon; and a number of other close friends and relatives.
The family would like to express their sincerest gratitude to the doctors and staff of Texas Oncology in Paris, Texas, as well as Platinum Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc. for their efforts to provide quality care and comfort during the final days of her life on this earth. We thank God for blessing us with her life and her presence in our own, and the time we spent with her.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 from 7:00 to 8:00 P.M.at Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held in her honor at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, January, 30, 2013 at Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home with Dr. Mike Lawson, current pastor of First Baptist Church of Sherman will be officiating. Interment will follow at Restland Cemetery in Roxton.
Pallbearers will be Rick Johnson, Tim Skidmore, James Van Deaver, Darwin “Buddy” Sarratt, Scott Galyon and Marc McNeal.
Online condolences may be sent to the McNeal family at www.fry-gibbs.com.
Blake was a World War II veteran pilot who served as a Captain in the Army Air Corps, training soldiers to fly B52 bombers. He began his career in sales with Briggs-Weaver Machinery at the age of 18. After working his way up to management level, he traveled the world representing the company. After retirement, he and his beloved wife, Dorothy Joyce, came back home to Paris to live. Blake was a member of the Kiwanis Club for many years and a longtime member of the Loyalty Sunday School class at Calvary United Methodist Church. An avid reader of the Wall Street Journal, he was known around town as a true Southern gentleman.
Blake was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Dorothy, brothers Andrew Crouch and R. R. (Dub) Crouch and brother-in-law Terry Van Sickle. Also preceding him in death were his sisters Alfreida (Freda) Mathews and Geraldine (Jerry) Dickerson and husband H. A. (Curly) Dickerson.
He is survived by sisters Dorothy Van Sickle and Ruth Shannon and husband U. C. (Bud) Shannon, as well as several nieces and nephews, a host of friends and McDonald’s coffee buddies, and his much loved Boston Terrier, Ruby.
Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home will hold graveside services on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 2:00 PM at Evergreen Cemetery under the direction of Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home where online condolences may be sent by visiting www.fry-gibbs.com.
He was born to Gaston and Wilda Dixon in Ranger, Texas on January 25, 1937. He graduated from RangerHigh School in 1955 and graduated from RangerJunior College in 1970. He was in the US Army from 1958 to 1961. He married Sherian Stallings Dixon on July 25, 1985 in Eastland.
He owned Ranger Auto Parts in Ranger, Tx, and Dixon Auto Supply in Eastland, Tx. He taught Auto Parts Merchandising and Machine Shop at BrookhavenCollege in Dallas from 1978-1980. While in Paris he was manager of Auto Zone, worked at ABC Auto Parts and Armstrong-McCall.
He was a long-time member of ChristianFellowshipChurch and had been involved in the Celebrate Recovery program for the past 8 years.
He is survived by his wife, Sherian of Paris, a son, David Dixon of Mineral Wells, four daughters, Dana Dixon Stepherson of Mineral Wells, Amy and Chris Margraves of New Braunfels, Shannon and Patrick Garrison of Winnsboro, and Susan Luna of Dallas, a brother, James and Melinda Dixon of Cross Plains, a sister, Jean and Mike Ford of Glen Rose. He had twelve grandchildren, Shelli Valentine, Garth Lemieux, Catherine Dixon, Derek Margraves, Kristen Dixon, Kerri Stepherson, Jason Garrison, Jonathan Dixon, Daren Margraves, Jadon Margraves, Cameron Dixon and Tristan Garrison and one great- granddaughter, Alison Harris.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Dan Dixon and a sister, Carol Ann Dixon.
Duke was an avid reader. Donations can be made in his name to a local library or literacy program or also to the Fisher House at the Dallas VA Hospital www.fisherhouse.org.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday January 29, at ChristianFellowshipChurch in Paris with interment in EvergreenCemetery. Family will receive friends from 7:00 P.M. till 8:00 P.M. Monday at the Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home.
Pallbearers are Eddie Fitzgerald, Rick Herrington, Jeff Bolton, Charlie Olson, Donald Vaughn and Jon Magwire.