David Andrew Neel, 56, passed away on March 7, 2014, at his home in Zionsville.
Born Nov. 25, 1957, in Snoqualmie, Wash., he was the son of Robert William Neel and Donna Pauline (French) Neel. His father worked for the Washington State Game Department, and the family moved to various fish hatcheries over the course of Dave’s childhood. These included the Spokane hatchery, the Barnaby Slough rearing pond in Rockport and the Goldendale hatchery.
Dave graduated from Goldendale High School in 1976. He earned letters in track and field in high school. In addition, in 1976 he was part of a team of 12 runners that ran cross-country from Olympia, Wash., to Washington, D.C., to celebrate the country’s bicentennial.
In 1980, Dave received a bachelor's degree from Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash., for his studies in chemistry. In 1988, he earned his master’s degree in chemistry from Butler University.
Dave worked at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis for more than 33 years. He began his career in 1980 as a research chemist. In 2005 he began working in the legal department, where he served as a patent consultant.
On Nov. 30, 1985, Dave married Nancy Ellen Wilkinson, originally of Clermont.
His father, who was an avid hunter and fisherman, imparted a love for the outdoors to Dave. The family went on several trips in the North Cascades mountain range when they lived in Rockport. Dave’s passion for the outdoors continued into his adulthood. In 1980, he went on a 40-day Canadian Arctic Barrens canoe trip in far northern Canada (Northwest Territories including present-day Nunavut).
Dave successfully climbed several mountains across the United States, especially in Washington. He climbed Mt. Adams in the Cascade Range on four separate occasions. Rock climbing was another outdoor activity that he picked up. He summited Devil’s Tower in Wyoming twice. Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin was a personal favorite for rock climbing.