BEAVERTON, ORE. - Mary Katherine (Dennis) McNeal, 81, died March 23, 2007, at St. Vincent's Providence Hospital in Beaverton, following a sudden illness. She was born on March 20, 1926, in Huntington Beach, Calif., to Charles and Orpha Dennis. She and her twin sister, Martha Kathleen, were the youngest of nine girls and three boys.
The family moved to Brownsville, Ore., in 1936 and then to Seattle in 1941, where she attended Highline High School.
In 1944 she was working at Boeing as a rivet bucker. That summer she met Jack McNeal at the Trianon Dance Hall. They were married on Dec. 19, 1944, when they were both 17 years old. Jack was in the Navy and they initially were based in California. After the war ended and Boeing announced a major layoff, the couple moved to Seattle, where they bought their first home, which included the chickens and the furniture.
They raised four children there - Jack, Chuck, Kathi and Janette. Mrs. McNeal taught herself to cook and made homemade bread daily and the "best pies ever." She became an excellent cook. She worked part-time in a printer's shop and at Millcene's Dress Shop. In 1960 the family moved to Burien where she worked at the local Albertson's in the bakery for many years.
By 1964 Jack was fishing out of Ilwaco and Mrs. McNeal and the kids would make the commute every week from Seattle to Long Beach during the summer. In the mid-1970s they bought the former Andy's Charters and renamed it Hobo Charters. After their last child was grown, they moved permanently to Ilwaco. Eventually they sold the charter business and became snowbirds. They traveled each winter to the southern states in their motor home and returned to spend summers in Ilwaco.
Mrs. McNeal had a very busy life raising her family, working and finding time to go hunting and camping with her husband. She was also an avid reader and after retirement enjoyed walking the beach, collecting interesting rocks, gardening and crossword puzzles. She always liked a good party and loved to dance - even on top of tables when the opportunity arose. She was a lot of fun! Those who knew her best knew how stubborn and independent she could be, but in a nice way. She appeared to be going along with what others wanted but in the end she usually did things her own way - which is the way she died, her own way.
Survivors include her husband, Jack, of Ilwaco; her four children, eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren plus several step great-grandchildren; two sisters, Martha Jones of Whidbey Island and Vivian Boulanger of Silverdale.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4 at the American Legion Hall on Lake Street in Ilwaco. The scattering of ashes will follow, weather permitting. Friends and family are invited to come and share your pictures, stories and feelings. Arrangements are by Penttila's Chapel of The Sea of Long Beach.