Nelle Ellen Elizabeth McFarland was born in Murphy, Oklahoma on July 15, 1925, the eighth of nine daughters born to Emmett and Eliza Elzora McFarland. Ellen also had three older brothers. She passed from the arms of her loving husband and family into the light of her Lord and Savior on October 17, 2013.
Ellen was a natural scholar, excelling academically and in extracurricular activities and was on track to be Valdictorian of her Locust Grove High School class until she was disqualified when school officials learned that she had eloped with a handsome Cherokee, four year class King LC Neel, whose graduation might never have occurred but for Ellen’s book report skills.
Ellen and LC were married by a pajamaclad Justice of the Peace on August 23, 1943, changing her name to Nelle Ellen Neel, giving her the unique distinction of having only three letters in her three names. They had $24.00 between them, most of it hers. Together, they built a successful life and partnership in home construction, real estate, land development and banking. If you lived in Southwood, Southwood South, South Country Estates, Country Crossing, Park Plaza and many other neighborhoods in Tulsa, Claremore, Broken Arrow or Bixby, chances are that Ellen designed and decorated your home, LC built it and one of them or their daughters sold it to you. LC has credited marrying Ellen as the reason for his success and never was a husband more loved.
As a great business partner and outstanding overseer of teenage daughters, she was one of the first ubermultitaskers. There was always a pot on the stove, house plans in progress on the kitchen table and you could eat off her floors, including the garage. She was an outstanding cook and her Thanksgiving dinners, Chicken and Noodles, pies and peach cobblers will forever be particularly missed.
Financially unable to attend college, Ellen stressed the importance of education to her daughters and was proud that all three obtained college degrees and all six grandchildren attended college, two at Ivy League schools, where she was present for commencement speeches by Hillary Clinton and President George W. Bush.
Ellen and LC actively supported many charities including FFA, providing education funds for countless farm families through participation in the live auction at the Tulsa State Fair. They donated land to build a new Library for Locust Grove and land for several area parks. Ellen was a lifelong Democrat and she and LC campaigned and contributed time, money and prime locations for campaign signs to promote Democratic candidates and causes. Ellen is survived by: her husband of 70 years, LC; sisters, Maxine Markham, 92, and Molly Sue Daily, 84; daughters, Teresa Norvell of Houston, Patricia Ellen Neel Titus of Tulsa, and Marquitta Jackson of Broken Arrow with whom she shared a birthday; grandchildren, Kelly Moody of Houston, twins Lisa Neel of Rockville Maryland and Lara Neel of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Gina Manassero of Austin, Ben Jackson of Afton, and Emily Wiesman of Bixby; great-grandchildren, Olivia and Nicholas Moody of Houston, Alexander Wiesman of Bixby, Elispeth Lara Neel-Lewis of Maryland and Harper Manassero of Austin; sons-in-law, J Schaad Titus and Randy Jackson; grandsons-in-law, Matt Lewis, Adam Manassero, Joey Wiesman, granddaughter-in-law, Dee Milroy; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins from the McFarland and Neel families. Service for Ellen will be at the Locust Grove United Methodist Church on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. The family will be at Key Funeral Home, Locust Grove, on Monday, October 21, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Services are under the direction of Key Funeral Home in Locust Grove. An open house celebrating Ellen’s life will be held in Tulsa at a date to be announced later. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to March of Dimes in honor of the baby who lived only in her heart, The American Diabetes Association, Alzheimer’s research, or plant a tree, feed the birds she so loved and when voting, “Punch the Rooster.”