Our loving mother, grandmother and sister, Pam Neil passed away peacefully in Reno, Nev. on April 24, 2017, after a two year battle with cancer and now resides in her heavenly home. A born-again Christian, Pam attended the First Baptist Church, in Hawthorne. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
A fourth generation Californian and a native of Imperial County, Pam was the daughter of Claude Herrick and Patricia Arner. She grew up in El Centro and Burbank, Calif., graduating from Burbank High School in 1965, later taking courses in early childhood development at Los Angeles Valley College, in the San Fernando Valley.
She was married in March 1969 to Mike Neil. In February 1970 they welcomed daughter Lori into the family. Five years later, to the day of Lori’s birth, Pam and Mike became the parents to their youngest son, Chuck. For the next few years, Pam spent her time raising the children, and helping to care for her niece. With two active children, Pam was kept busy taxiing her daughter and son to their various sports and school endeavors, including soccer and softball. In ferrying around many of their friends who had working parents, she became a second mom to many of the teammates.
The Neil family moved to San Diego in 1979 and remained there as Lori and Chuck grew up. During that time Pam started a small home-based distribution and sales company specializing in t-shirt advertising. From 1983 to 1996, Pam and Mike began a successful small business, San Diego CNC, a machine tools sales and service company. In 1996 the firm was incorporated as Neil Enterprises, Inc. Pam served as the office manager and accountant for the company.
The Neil’s resided in Rancho Penasquitos from 1979 to 1994, when Pam and Mike became involved in the breeding and showing of American Eskimo dogs and became significantly active in the dog world. From 1989 to 1995, Pam was instrumental in establishing the local chapter of the American Eskimo Dog Club of San Diego County. Pam, Mike and many other “Eskie” lovers and breeders helped this breed to be recognized and accepted by the American Kennel Club.
Moving to north Escondido, Mike and Pam Neil actively assisted others in training their dogs and Pam started puppy socialization classes. They were also members of the Hidden Valley Obedience Club of North San Diego County from 1990 to 2002, during which time Pam served as treasurer of the Escondido Humane Society and facilitated the expansion of the society’s facilities and helping to build the first ever dog park in the City of Escondido.
Mike passed suddenly in 2002 and the business was closed. Together with her sister Sue Silver, from 2003 to 2006 Pam attended to their father in his decline with Alzheimer’s disease before moving with Sue to Hawthorne in June 2006.
In Hawthorne Pam became active as a volunteer with and a member of the board of directors of the Ray of Hope Humane Society. In 2008 and 2009, Pam devoted many hours to the fight to fend off a wilderness land proposal and supported the efforts of the Coalition for Public Access (CPA). She became active in the Mineral County Republican County Committee, serving for a time as the committee’s treasurer.
Pam’s battle with cancer was both inspiring and heartbreaking. Her diagnosis was made nearly two years after a local radiology report had recommended a CT scan follow-up, but of which she was not advised. Because her symptoms were missed, one of Pam’s last sentiments and advice to others was that they should always seek a second opinion and take responsibility for your own health needs.
Pam is survived by her children: Lori Neil and Chuck Neil; Chuck’s fiancé, Holley Watkins; three grandchildren: Harrison Sedin, William White Neil and Dylan Neil; her sister: Sue Silver; niece: Chris (Eileen) Stanwick and cousins: Barbara (Greg) Beedon, Chuck (Sabra) Cobleigh and Nancy (Jim) Jacobs.
Services will be held on Saturday, May 6 at 11 a.m., at the First Baptist Church, corner of 8th and C streets, Hawthorne. Friends and acquaintances are invited to attend. A meal will follow courtesy of the church’s congregation.