Bobby Burns McNeill

May 12, 1931 ~ July 2, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old

Bobby McNeill Obituary

Bobby Burns McNeill, 92, of Raeford, North Carolina, passed away at his home on July 2, 2023 after a brief illness.

He was born May 12, 1931, the sixth son of John Knox McNeill and Beulah Lentz McNeill in Raeford, NC.  He never spent a Christmas outside of Hoke County. During his childhood, he worked with his father, his brothers and his Uncle Neill on the family farm and at the family grocery store, Home Food Super Market.  When his time was not occupied by school or work, he could be found at the swimming hole at Rockfish Creek or burning down the family cookhouse smoking rabbit tobacco. In high school, he was known by very few as, “Ace” for his set shots and underhand free throws, which were substantially short of legendary. 

Despite the discouragement of the faculty at his high school, Mr. McNeill attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1953 with a BS degree in Business Administration.  While there, he learned the Tar Heel fight song, Ay Ziggy Zoomba, which would become his trusty lullaby when singing his children to sleep. After college, he served in the US Army during the Korean War as a Clerk-Typist. It was alleged, but never confirmed, that due to his exceptional typing skills and detailed understanding of Army regulations, a large number of men from North Carolina, particularly Hoke County, stayed state-side.   

After his service, Mr. McNeill attended law school at UNC on the GI bill, graduating in the Spring of 1958. When he returned to Raeford to begin his legal career, there were four attorneys in Hoke County.  Mr. McNeill split his time working part-time for three of them, including former member of the NC House of Representatives, Charles A. Hostetler and long-time Raeford attorney, Arthur D. Gore.  After the passing of Mr. Gore in the fall of 1958, Mr. McNeill took a seat behind Mr. Gore’s old oak desk and partnered with Hostetler to form Hostetler & McNeill.  He would sit behind that same desk throughout the duration of his 55-year legal career.  

Before settling into a career focused on real estate and wills and estates, Mr. McNeill took any case that came through his door, from minor traffic offenses to capital criminal defense cases. Mr. McNeill was the first person from his law school graduating class to argue a case before the NC Supreme Court.  During his term as President of the Bar Association of the 12th Judicial District, the district became the first in North Carolina to get a full-time public defender.

He was a denizen of the Hoke County deed vault who, over the course of his career, handled an untold number of land transactions. He had a hand in, at one time or another, the transfer of practically every square inch of Hoke County, the titles to which he could often recite from memory.

As an attorney, Mr. McNeill always considered it his duty and privilege to offer counsel to his clients pursuant to the highest ethical standards and to humbly serve the community.  He served on the Board of Directors of the Hoke County Chamber of Commerce, was Chairman of the Hoke County Young Democrats and served on the John Motley Morehead Committee for over 10 years.  He was a 2009 inductee of the General Practice Hall of Fame of the North Carolina Bar Association.  He was a life-long member of the Raeford Presbyterian Church where, at various times, he served as an Elder and a Deacon.  In an effort to further cultivate the ability to offer comfort and counsel to all of his clients, he completed an extensive Stephen Ministry course. He knew the Bible well and was an exponent of the New Testament. Mr. McNeill was a person of great competence and professionalism, a man of integrity, fairness and high character and a person with great compassion for and dedication to those in need.  He was known by many as a “Grace Man.”

            Perhaps Mr. McNeill’s greatest accomplishment was winning the hand of the former Mary Elizabeth Teague of Chapel Hill.  Introduced by mutual friends, they met on a blind date at the beach.  Their sixty-four-year marriage resulted in three children, all undergraduate Tar Heels and all attorneys.  “Pop,” as he was known by them, is remembered as an enthusiastic and creative storyteller (a McNeill genetic predisposition), an underrated short-order cook, a diligent crop inspector, a dedicated ride-taker, a faithful disciple of Dale Carnegie, a deadeye hook shot artist, an aggressive yard-sitter, an ardent Tar Heel, and a man who insisted upon always being dressed sharply and smartly.  He was a stoic example of generosity, loyalty, compassion, kindness and love, except in matters involving horseshoes and setback.  At the McNeill family farm, he taught all three of his children drive and fish.  He taught them to love the law, the North Carolina coast, good seafood and to take care of one another. He was a shrewd and savvy steward of the McNeill family farm, who, with his brothers and many nieces and nephews, worked to preserve the legacy assembled by his father and uncle so that it would serve generations of McNeills to come.

            The family thanks Helen Thomas, Doris McGougan, Gladys Kershaw, Ruby Chambers and the many people at Liberty Home Care and & Hospice Services for the love and care provided to Bobby in his latter days.


            On Friday, July 7, 2023, there will be a brief graveside service at Raeford Cemetery at 9:00 am followed by visitation at Raeford Presbyterian Church at 9:45 am. A service will follow in the sanctuary at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Raeford Presbyterian Church building fund.

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Graveside Service
July 7, 2023

9:00 AM
Raeford Cemetery

July 7, 2023

9:45 AM to 10:45 AM
Raeford Presbyterian Church
128 West Edinborough Avenue
Raeford, NC 28376

Funeral Service
July 7, 2023

11:00 AM
Raeford Presbyterian Church
128 West Edinborough Avenue
Raeford, NC 28376


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