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ELINOR BENSON NEALSeptember 1, 1923 ~ May 18, 2017 (age 93)
Elinor Benson Neal died peacefully on May 18. She was born in Dothan, AL, September 1, 1923, to Wallace and Emily Wells Muir. She graduated from Dothan High School. After high school, she worked as secretary to the British commander of Napier Air Field in Dothan. She attended Auburn University where she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and met her first husband, John Benson.
Elinor moved with her family to Bradenton in 1957 from Andalusia, AL. She was a member of Bradenton Country Club and Trinity Methodist Church, and served as president of the Manatee High School PTA when her children were students there. She worked as legal secretary to lawyers John Blue of Bradenton and Art Ginsburg of Sarasota.
Elinor married Paul Neal in 1972 and became “Ellie”, enjoying 28 years of traveling, boating, and combining their two families in the fun. Ellie became a born again Christian in the 1990s through Executive Ministries. She grew her faith with many Bible studies, including Bible Study Fellowship. She went several times to San Antonio to volunteer at BSF’s headquarters. She also learned from and supported the ministries of Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah, and Billy Graham and their associates, taking several cruises and tours with them.
Ellie was a member or former member of Bradenton Yacht Club, Bradenton Country Club, Sarasota Yacht Club, and First United Methodist Church. She was a supporter and/or a member of Gloria Musicae, the Fine Arts Society, the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Ballet, Selby Gardens, Mote Marine Institute and the Florida West Coast Symphony.
After Paul’s death in 2000, she became an avid traveler and cruiser, often taking children, grandchildren and great grandchildren with her.
Ellie is survived by her children, Emily Buskirk(Frank) and John Benson(Diane), Pat Neal(Charlene) of Bradenton and Tony Neal(Gwen) of Homer, Alaska; grandchildren Brandi Benson of New York, Amanda Morris(Rob) of Sarasota, and Adam Buskirk(Emily) of Bradenton, Sarah O”Neill(Chris) of Portland Oregon, Siri Neal(Lesa) of St. Petersburg, Jeff Neal(Cliona) of Ireland, John Neal(Rebecca) and Michael Neal of Bradenton. Great grandchildren include Ansley and Matthew Morris of Sarasota, Brady and Rachel Buskirk, Betsy and Caitlin Neal, all of Bradenton, Tige and Malachi Neal of Ireland, and Owen O’Neill of Portland. She also leaves niece Elinor Ritter Freeman of Carrabelle, FL, Linda Ritter Wilder of Dothan, AL, and Dottie Ritter Lee of Atlanta.
A celebration of Ellie’s life will be held at 2:00 on Tuesday, May 23rd, at First United Methodist Church of Bradenton, 603 11th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205. Donations in Ellie’s memory can be made to the church.
First United Methodist Church- Bradenton
603 11th Street West, Bradenton FL 34205