Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Neal L. Prince


April 11, 2019

Neal LeRoy Prince, 89, of Fairbury, NE, passed away Tuesday February 26, 2019 with his family by his side.

He was born to Neal LeRoy and Cecelia Mae (McClanahan) Prince Sr. November 21, 1929 at the Scottsbluff hospital. He attended school, grades K through 12 in Scottsbluff as well as the Junior College there.

After briefly attending UNL, he joined the Air Force in January of 1951. He received his training at bases in San Antonio, TX. Sandia in Albuquerque, NM and Langley in Virginia. He spent the next three years stationed at Sculthorpe Air Force base in England, where he was classified for the loading and unloading and maintenance of atomic bombs, where he earned the rank of Staff Sergeant. Neal was enlisted during the Korean War but the only time he was shot was as a teenager in Scottsbluff. He was accidentally shot with a shotgun by his friend when a pheasant flew up between them. He carried some of the pellets the rest of his life.

Sports activities had always been a high priority with Neal both participating and coaching. He earned the name "Stretch" while in high school because he was not only tall, but he jumped high to make a basket. Sometimes they called him "crazy legs· because he dribbled the ball with speed and elusiveness. When he coached (and played) basketball at Sculthorpe the team won the United Kingdom tour and placed second in the all European tournament. During this time he also made the United Kingdom England Air Force team in high jump, pole vault, hurdles and broad jump. He missed going to the finals in Florida by just one other person.

After serving in the Air Force for 4 years Neal returned to the University of Nebraska. He met the love of his life, Joyce Ann Iwohn, who was also attending· UNL at the time and they were married Saturday June 9, 1956 in the Endicott Methodist Church with Rev. Fred Winter officiating. Two daughters were born to this union, Cheryll Ann and Diane Denise.

Neal graduated from UNL in 1958 with a BS in Physical Education. He later receive a MA in Physical Education from the University of Boulder. Neal's teaching career began a Kimball High School with subjects of P.E, Science and Health as well as coaching. He also taught Science in Bellevue and Diller. Bellevue placed 2nd in the Class A Basketball tournament losing to Creighton Prep in 1965. Neal was the assistant basketball coach at the time. In 1969 Neal was Bellevue's high school golf coach. The team was 1st in the Metro Tournament, 2nd in the District and 10th in the state. In 1971, with Neal as its coach, the Bellevue High School Golf Team won 1st in the state. This same year Neal was given the Nebraska State Outstanding Coach Award.

Outside of teaching and coaching Neal experienced a variety of, occupations. In 6th grade he sold and delivered magazines and started scooping snow with another friend for 25 cents a sidewalk. They also watered and mowed lawns. Later in Jr. and Senior High School he was a stockman and sold popcorn for a local drugstore for 15 cents an hour. He shined shoes at the barber shop, cleaned windows and was the janitor for the North Central Gas Company. He hoed weeds out of bean fields and on Saturdays was a stockman and salesman for L. B. Murphy Clothing Store.

One year, school was let out early so the students could pick potatoes at 7 cents a sack. One summer he became an assistant plumber. For two or three summers he was a live-in helper on his Uncle Pete's wheat farm in Kimball. He said it was hard some mornings to get up until he 'smelled his Aunt Abby frying chicken. Post-high school graduation he served as a telegraph operator for the railroad in Bridgeport, NE.

While at UNL he operated an elevator in a downtown bank building and helped serve the evening meal at his fraternity, Sigma Chi:There he found some wonderful friends, several of which became lifelong friends. After marriage he sold shoes at Bakers in Lincoln, coached Little League Baseball and supervised recreational playground activities during the summer. Christmas holiday he worked at the Lincoln Post Office.

He sold mutual funds in Kimball and one summer in Bellevue he sold swimming pools. His immediate family had the enjoyable results of this as they were one of his best customers. Neal and Joyce managed a newly built Dairy Queen in Bellevue for 10 years while both of them taught school.

Probably the biggest occupational change came when he left teaching in Bellevue and moved his family to a Jefferson County farm located between Fairbury and Endicott. Farming had its up and downs. Neal soon felt fortunate to teach Science in Diller for a steady income. Neal retired from teaching in 1990. After retirement Neal's greatest enjoyment was playing golf, driving around the farm and family activities. During this time he had the pleasure of shooting 3 "hole-in-ones" on the Fairbury Country Club nine-hole golf course (two on #2 and one on #5).

In his last few days Neal said, "I feel very fortunate that I had so many great experiences in my lifetime." Neal was a member of Sigma Chi, NEA, NSEA, DEA, American Legion, Elks and the Fairbury Country Club.

Neal is survived by his wife Joyce. Daughters; Cheryll McAtee and son-in-law Mitch, and Diane Prince. Grandsons Cody Boeve and spouse, Rachelle and Kenneth Mooren; granddaughters, Jennifer Lewien and spouse, Mike and Rachael Jasa and spouse, Kevin; great grandchildren, Keden Boeve, Connor Mooren, Braylee and Tony Boeve, Kyle and Ryan Jasa, and Hannah and Kendal Fischer; and brother Arthur Prince and spouse, JoAnn of Meadow Valley, CA. Special cousins, Lois Goff of Riverton, WY, Asa Brooks and spouse, Elaine, of Mesa, AZ. and Patricia Barrett of Kimball, NE.

Preceding him in death were his mother, Cecelia Robinett of Scottsbluff/Fairbury and his father, Neal LeRoy Prince Sr. of California.


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