Louis Fredrick Neff was born in Bow, WA, November 25, 1919 to Elfrieda M (Shassy) and Benjamin F Neff. He was the fifth of eight children. He was educated in the Burlington area and graduated from Burlington-Edison High School, Class of 1939. He enlisted in the Washington National Guard in October of 1936 to earn a little money for the family. His unit was activated in September of 1940 and assigned to the Coast Artillery. He was on active duty on December 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor Naval Base was attacked.
Prior to the war he met Alice Anderson, the woman he would marry after his return from the war. They were married at Ft Lawton in Seattle on January 8, 1946 and spent 64 years of their lives together. Lou was the father of three children, all born while he was assigned to Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA between 1946 and 1950.
His 26-year career in the Army took him and his family to California, Oklahoma, Seattle, Japan, Kansas, Tacoma, France, and Virginia. He served in America and Europe during World War II, but after the war, while stationed at Ft Mason, CA, he visited Japan, Korea, Guam, Saipan, Guadalcanal, Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii while serving aboard ships recovering war supplies left on the island of the Pacific. The ships also recovered the remains of our servicemen killed in action when Graves Registration was aboard.
After retirement from the US Army in 1966, the family returned to Tacoma. Lou and Alice moved to Burlington in 1968 following the graduation and marriages of their daughters. Lou began a second career as a mechanic at McDowell Volkswagen. After retiring again in 1981, he became the “go to guy” for routine maintenance and engine replacements for owners of older VWs in the Skagit Valley.
In his spare time, Lou loved hunting and fishing. He spent many days in the woods and on the water with pole in hand. Lou and Alice loved to travel, going to California to “house-sit” many winters. They made one memorable trip to the South Pacific, stopping at Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. Alaskan cruises with friends were also on the list.
Many leisure hours were spent playing a variety of card games. Every child and grandchild learned to count and add while playing cribbage with Lou. He was playing cribbage with his children just days before his death. “15-2, 15-4 and there ain’t no more.”
Louis died peacefully May 20, 2017 in Colville, WA. He is survived by his brother, Jim, of Burlington, and three children; John (Faye) Neff of Kettle Falls, WA; Nancy (Richard) Green of Kettle Falls and Donna (Bruce) Killion of Summerville, South Carolina. Also surviving are eight grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren. His newest great-grandchild was born on his 97th birthday. He was preceded in death by his wife Alice, his parents, brothers Sherman T., Victor L and Robert G Neff and sisters Rose Biggerstaff, Rena Johnson and Ruth Tjeerdsma.
A memorial mass will be celebrated at St Charles Catholic Church in Burlington, WA on Thursday, May 25 at 10:30 am with the Reverend Martin Bourke as Celebrant. Rite of Committal will follow at Bow Cemetery. All are invited back to the church for a reception following the inurnment. The family suggests memorials to the American Heart Association, St Charles Catholic Church, or a charity of your choice.