Verneil “Neil” Huggins

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Neil was born on the Fourth of July, 1937, in the small town of Elkader, Iowa ,to parents Russell and Geneva. He was a patriot, proud of his country, an Eagle Scout and served four years in the Air Force. He always enjoyed his birthday, wearing his patriotic colors, and, of course, there had to be fireworks. Neil attended school in Elkader, played all the sports and made long-time relationships with his coach and teammates. From teenage years, he helped neighbors and friends and that continued until his passing. He was a kind, outgoing, compassionate person full of energy for every activity. He was a loving, devoted husband, great brother, uncle and friend.

Neil met Mary Robertson at a young adult group at Central Presbyterian Church in Denver in 1963. They were married August 7, 1965, in Denver, and celebrated their 50th anniversary last year on a Viking River Cruise. They were a loving, devoted couple. Neil was involved in the tire and automotive industries until they moved to Spokane in 1976. He worked for Rowand Machinery Company as a Service Administrator retiring in 2002. After retirement he worked occasionally for Humanix temporary service and spent many springs and falls at Gonzaga planting flowers or raking leaves. He did many varied and interesting jobs around the city and was quite often called back to the same companies. He also enjoyed working at the auto auction in Airway Heights driving cars.

Neil and Mary were well known among their friends for their annual Christmas open house. They were an active part of their church. They volunteered for many organizations: the MAC’s Mothers’ Day Tours, the Dixieland Jazz Festival, registration for Bloomsday, Spokane Preservation Advocates, host family for the Japanese students at Mukagawa, and were avid fans of the Gonzaga girls’ basketball team. They went to athletic events at Whitworth as well. Neil enjoyed playing golf, skiing, biking, running, square dancing, clogging, etc. etc. Neil ran every Bloomsday but about three and was usually in the top 20 of his age group. He was proud of running five marathons, including the 1 DOth anniversary of the Boston Marathon. Neil and Mary were an active part of the Compass Club “gourmet” group. We can’t leave out the love of cars - his ‘67 Chevelle and ‘55 Buick, which he restored and treasured. Neil and Mary took long trips in the summer and covered most of the states, stopping to see the state capitals and universities along the way. They made many friends across the country and Canada in the Evergreen B&B they belonged to and enjoyed hosting people in their home.

Neil is survived by his brother, Roger, and his wife, Lois, from Cedar Rapids, lA and Mary’s brother John Robertson and his wife, Kiara, from Green Valley, AZ. Having no children, they considered their nieces and nephews, and now their children, as their grandchildren, attending graduations, weddings and reunions. They were always interested in, and proud of, their lives and accomplishments: Jeff and Charlene Huggins, Charlie and Katie, Arlington, VA; Jane (Huggins) and Frank Danehy, Laura and Erik of Norwood, MA; Jon and Catherine Huggins, Philip, Ellen and Jack of Denver, CO;

Denice Robertson and Charles Acosta, Chloe and Zach of Cincinnati, OH; and Andrea Robertson and David Decker and soon to be baby girl, Cave Creek, AZ. And countless, countless friends from coast to coast.

Neil died of a rare disease called amyloidosis that damaged, among other things, his heart and kidneys. The outlook was that they could not reverse the damage that was already done and he would be looking at a life style of low activity and more sedentary - definitely not Neil’s style. He was napping on the couch when the angels came to take him to Heaven. It is a blessing the Lord called him home to be with Him. Mary would like to thank all the medical people who were involved in Neil’s care and to all friends for their support. 

A Celebration of Life was held at 1 p.m. on Monday, August 8, at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1502 West 8th. In lieu of flowers please contribute to Plymouth Congregational Church, the Spokane Humane Society, or the agency of your choice.

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