Archie V. McNeil was one of the vanishing Americans. A carpenter by trade, the Wheaton (IL.) man who died Friday at the age of 80 never had to make excuses for the work fashioned by the two good hands God gave him. I considered him a friend, for though he was 80 the day he died, I had come to respect his youthfulness of spirit and honesty of purpose.
This piece is not so much an epitaph for Mr. McNeil as it is an epitaph for the type of person he represented. At an age when many men retired to a rocking chair to tell the world of their aches and pains, he was still doing the work he knew how to do so well. It was such men as he who fashioned the log cabins and covered wagons that were an integral part of the early Midwest.
He represented the man whose type we need more of in the world today- a craftsman who took pride in his work; a citizen who took cognizance of his government; a union man who represented the best of trade unionism and a man whose personal life was above reproach. There are all too few men like Archie V. McNeil left in Wheaton and the country today. When he was laid to rest a part of our community ceased to exist that is needed by all of us.
His trade, which he carried on in standards such as those set by a carpenter in Nazareth many years ago, will miss him. His community will miss him, for the kind of man he was, and his many friends will miss him. Let his monument be the work of his hands, so evident in the community he has left behind.
(Written by William E. Scrivo, Daily Journal Managing Editor, published in the Daily Journal March 31, 1958)
In my circle of friends, this is Tim McNeil's grandfather.