2017-11-30 / Obituaries

Shirley MacNealy

Shirley MacNealy Shirley MacNealy Shirley Ann (nee Adams) Mac- Nealy, 86, passed away Wednesday, November 22, 2017, in Madison, Mississippi.

She was born January 4, 1931, in Ashland, Wisconsin.

As a young girl, Mrs. MacNealy was reared mostly on her family’s farm on 15 Mile Road, south of Sault Ste. Marie.

She began her education in a oneroom school, and eventually she was graduated from Pickford High School. She went on to attend Northern Michigan University, where she earned a degree in education, which was her lifelong passion.

While at Northern Michigan University, she fell in love with Richard Kenneth “Dick” MacNealy, a World War II combat veteran, and they were married in 1952. Her husband was also an educator, and after their marriage, they both taught at schools in Bellevue, Ohio, and then in Cheboygan, where their two oldest sons were born. In 1960, they accepted positions with the Department of Defense School System in Japan, where their youngest son was born. In 1962, Mrs. MacNealy and her husband both accepted education positions in Mississippi. She loved educating children, so she became a school principal. In 1977 she was elected president of the Mississippi Elementary Schools Association, a position that offered her the opportunity to travel throughout the state and country to learn and observe best education practices. During this time, she earned her master’s degree and specialist certificate. Her efforts to achieve excellence in education earned national recognition when the U.S. Department of Education selected her school, Van Winkle Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi, as the only elementary or middle school in Mississippi during the 1987-1988 school year as a “Model of Excellence.” As a result, Mrs. MacNealy was recognized by the Governor and Legislature of Mississippi and was honored during ceremonies in Washington, D.C., where she received the award from Secretary of Education Bill Bennett and met President Ronald Reagan.

In 1989, Mrs. MacNealy and her husband retired and moved to Bradenton, Florida, and in 2005, they moved to Brandon, Mississippi. They spent many years traveling around the United States in their motor home. They enjoyed square and round dancing wherever they traveled, and they especially enjoyed the summers they spent with her sisters and brother-in-law, Betty Lipsett and Marilyn and Chuck Crawford, all of Cedarville. She attended First Union Church whenever she was in Cedarville.

She is survived by three sons, all retired U.S. Army pilots, and their families, Colonel Richard “Rem” and Ginger MacNealy of Huntsville, Alabama, Colonel Bradly MacNealy and Duncan of Inverness, Mississippi, and Brigadier General Kelly and Libby MacNealy of Madison; grandchildren, Sergeant First Class Bradly, Jr. and Leah MacNealy of Inverness, Brittany and Robert Gonzales of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Rachel and Taylor Wesson of Huntsville, and Nathan of Madison; two great-grandchildren, Haddie Mac Wesson and Robert J. Gonzales III, and two sisters and their families, Betty Lipsett and Marilyn and Chuck Crawford, all of Cedarville.

In addition to her parents, dredge Captain George Ernest Edward Adams and Meretta Margaret (nee Lackey) Adams, Mrs. MacNealy was preceded in death by her husband, Richard, who died November 6, 2017.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, December 3, at 2 p.m. at R. Galer Funeral Home in Pickford. Visitation will be from 1:30 p.m. to time of the service.

She will be interred together with her husband at Oaklawn Chapel Gardens, near the farm where she grew up.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Alzheimer’s Mississippi, 855 South Pear Orchard Road, Suite 501, Ridgeland, MS 39157.

Sebrell Funeral Home in Ridgeland is assisting the family with arrangements.

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