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Joan Margaret (Davidson) McNeel

1923 - 2011, Santa Barbara

01/29/1923 - 10/01/2011

Joan Margaret (Davidson) McNeel, age 88, passed away peacefully in Santa Barbara on the evening of October 1, 2011. Joan was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the only daughter of Virgil and Vivian Davidson. Her family moved to Glendale when Joan was a teenager and she graduated from Hoover High School. She attended Mills College in Oakland for 2 years, until she decided to take flight training in preparation to join the Women’s Air Service Patrol (WASPs) during World War II. While learning to fly she met the love of her life, Robert (Mac) McNeel, a dashing Army Air Corps pilot and flight instructor. They married in 1944 and after Mac was discharged from the military they lived for more than 60 years in North Hollywood (now Valley Village), California. Joan enjoyed tending to her beautiful rose garden, bringing up two rambunctious daughters, and being a loving and supportive wife, mother, grandmother, friend and neighbor. For the last 3½ years Joan and Mac lived in Santa Barbara where they could be closer to their younger daughter and her family.

At the time of her death, Joan was attended by Mac, her husband of 67 years, her children Linda “Mac” McNeel (Doug Moore) Moore and Sandy McNeel (Alastair Brown) and her beloved grandchild, Sierra McNeel-Moore. She will be lovingly remembered for her amazingly positive spirit and love for life, as well as a sense of humor that could really take you by surprise. A self-taught cook, she also enjoyed figure-skating, knitting, sewing and anything blue. She loved having music in her life and passed that love along to both her daughters. Joan could often be found scouring craft fairs and gem shows for unique and beautiful jewelry which she collected and wore with great style. For more than 60 years she enjoyed a close camaraderie with her high school sorority sisters which included monthly get-togethers and holiday parties. Joan filled our lives with love and generosity and taught us by example the importance of caring for others. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Her family wishes to especially thank the staff of Heritage House, Santa Barbara, for welcoming Joan and Mac into such a beautiful, loving and caring community. We would also like to thank Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Santa Barbara for their compassionate assistance in the last two months of her life.

A celebration of Joan’s life will be held at Heritage House, Santa Barbara, at a later date.

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