Remembering John R. McNeese's patriotism


March 12, 1997|By Bonita Formwalt | Bonita Formwalt,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE WORDS IN the obituary inform. John R. McNeese passed away Friday after an extended illness. Beloved husband to Marjorie. Devoted father to Marnie and John Michael. Retired from the Army as a career soldier. A resident of Suburbia since 1960.

After they die, we often remember people by such titles. In life, they make their mark with more intangible qualities.

I met John McNeese during my first year as a community correspondent. As commander of VFW Post 434 in Marley, he called to tell me I had inverted the post numbers in my column. I was embarrassed. He was gracious. I never got the numbers wrong again.

Over the years, our paths crossed many times, usually when he was promoting a community service project connected with the VFW's Buddy Poppy Queen contests and Voice of Democracy programs.

Several years ago, we spent a Sunday afternoon together judging a districtwide contest. Young girls from posts throughout the county reciting the ode to fallen heroes "In Flanders Field." When the representative from Post 434 won, McNeese beamed with pride. He knew all along she was a winner. She was a Glen Burnie girl.

McNeese's commitment to the military continued long after his retirement from active duty. A soldier in the European theater during World War II, he also fought in Korea and Vietnam. He retired in 1971 from the Pentagon.

In addition to his work with the VFW, McNeese was an active member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Disabled American Veterans and a lifetime member of American Legion Post 40 in Glen Burnie. In 1995 he was honored as the grand marshal in Glen Burnie's annual Memorial Day parade.

McNeese's most recent battle was waged in a hospital. I hadn't heard from him in several months. Monday, I received a call from his wife, Marge, telling me he had died.

She wanted to thank me for being so generous in publishing his activities with the VFW. She had it wrong.

John McNeese's patriotism and commitment were things I was honored he shared with me. And it was a joy to share them with you, Glen Burnie.

Student-faculty game

They interact everyday in the classrooms and the halls, but the true challenge will come when Glen Burnie High School hosts the annual student-faculty basketball game at 7 p.m. Friday in the gym, 7550 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd.

Admission is $2 or two cans of food.

Sponsored by the Student Government Association, the event is a fund-raiser for the North County Emergency Outreach Network, which provides assistance to needy families.

Members of the student team are: seniors James Gillespie, Tiffani Keyes, Joe Matukonis, James Prince, Angela Rivas, Demetria Stallings, Anne Stull, Luckey Williams, Kevin Wholey; juniors Amy Falls, Shenna Gibson, Larell Henriques; sophomore David Myers; and freshman John Kneisley.

Seniors Lenny Holmes and Jennifer DeWitt are coaches for the student team.

Principal David Hill will coach the following members of the faculty: Juan Brown, Allason Earley, John Himmelhelber, Samuel Hytovitz, Sean Moore, Alan Samonisky, Jon Van Orden, Carlos Adams, Tim Clark, Bryan Ranck, Chris Higgins, Steve Thomas HTC and Joanne Brack.

Though hesitant to reveal all his strategies before the big game, coach Hill offers a hint.

"My strategy will be to make the game as slow as possible, since there is an average of 30 years difference in the ages," he confided. "The problem is that, based on my experience, the faculty usually refuses to acknowledge the 30-year difference and tries to run with the kids."

Hill paused, then added, "I think that could prove very foolhardy. I'm going to encourage them to keep it slow."

The evening's activities will be highlighted by visits from three team mascots, the Oriole Bird, the Bandits' Raccoon and Jinx the Cat from the Baltimore Spirit soccer team.

Spirit player Joe Mallia will share announcing duties with juniors Jessica DeWitt and Anthony Meadors.

Information: (410) 761-8950.

Pub Date: 3/12/97

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