Neil E. Lucas
August 29, 1933 - July 31, 2019
Saturday, August 03, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Young Family Funeral Home - Kendallville Chapel
Saturday, August 03, 4:00 PM
Young Family Funeral Home - Kendallville Chapel
Neil E. Lucas, 85, of Corunna and formerly of Kendallville died Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at his residence.
He was born August 29, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Fred C. and Margaret O. (Wilson) Lucas.
On September 29, 1985, in Cordova, Alaska, he married Donna (Wagle) Walton. She preceded him in death on January 24, 2013. On November 15, 2014, he married Lisa Marie (Koos) Eldridge. She survives in Corunna.
Mr. Lucas graduated from high school in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, in 1951 and then attended Penn State University until enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1953 and entered as an Aviation Cadet for pilot training. After completing that training he was assigned to a variety of capacities as a pilot, instructor and staff officer. While assigned as a B-47 bomber pilot, he flew many cross-Atlantic flights to Spain and England to stand on nuclear alert during the Cold War.
He was assigned to the CIA assisting with support for the SR-71 super spy plane and also was an advisor to the FAA is helping develop flight profiles for landings and take-off of the proposed commercial supersonic transport plane.
He served in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969 as an A-1 fighter bomber pilot with over 300 combat missions, being awarded the Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, 18 Air Medals, and The Bronze Star. He was a member of the A-1 Skyraider Association. He retired from the Air Force in 1974 with the rank of Lt. Colonel and Command Pilot with almost 5000 hours of flying time in 16 different aircraft.
Mr. Lucas returned to college after his Air Force career and graduated form the University of West Florida, Pensacola with a Magna cum Laude degree in Accounting and Finance. He served as an adjunct profession at the university while pursuing an MBA degree. He was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Mr. Lucas then worked for Hospital Corporation of America as an operation specialist assisting hospital controllers at HCA hospitals in ten western states while based in Las Vegas. He then transferred to Raleigh, North Carolina to serve as controller of a 140-bed acute care hospital. Parental health problems required him to leave that job and move to Winchester, Tennessee, where he established an Accounting and Tax Service. While doing that, he purchased a convenience store which specialized in bait, tackle and hunting supplies.
He had been an IRS agent auditing small businesses, farms and individuals, and served as Chief Financial Officer for two different companies in Tennessee and Ohio.
When his wife, Donna opened “Donna’s Delights”, a fabric, notions, craft and sewing machine store in Kendallville during the late 1980’s, he learned how to repair sewing machines and continued doing that until December 31, 2013. Prior to full time retirement, he also worked as a trim press operator for Parker-Hannefin in Albion and as a night manager/auditor for the Best Western Motel in Kendallville.
He was an accomplished woodworker who designed and crafted numerous pieces of furniture for his home and family.
He is also survived by a son, Mark (Ellie) Lucas of Rockledge, Florida; daughters, Lisa Ann Lucas of New Haven, April E. Lucas of Pensacola, Florida, Molly W. McGuire of Commerce City, Colorado, Margaret W. Adams of Williamsburg, Virginia; stepchildren, Keith Eldridge of Corunna, Sara (Mark) Wainwright of Garrett, Michael Eldridge of Fort Wayne, Daniel A. Scott of Ypsilanti, Michigan, Wade M. Walton of Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Adel Davenport of Hicksville, Ohio; 15 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 4 p.m. in Young Family Funeral Home, Kendallville Chapel, 222 South State Street, Kendallville with Pastor Dan Carlson of the Wolf Lake Baptist Church officiating. Interment of his cremains will be at a later date.
Honor guard services will be provided by the Veterans Honor Guard and active duty members of the U.S. Air Force
Calling is Saturday, August 3, 2019, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the funeral home.
View a video tribute after Saturday or share memories and condolences at www.youngfamilyfuneralhome.com
I only hope I can be half the man you were. Thank you for accepting me into your family. Rest easy now. We love you and will miss you. To Lisa, if you need anything we are here for you.
Just heard, I am so sorry hugs and prayers go out to you all ❤️ Uncle Neil we love you rest in your peace, You were one of the great ones, We are honored to have known you.
My Sweet Sweet friend Lisa . My heart is saddened for your loss. You have to be one of the strongest friends ive had .May God Love you all always 💖💖💖
You were a fantastic man.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Neil was a great man a wonderful Husband Dad and Grandpa he was a war hero love and miss you Neil
What a wonderful man and a fantastic career. He worked on all of my sewing machines with excellent care. My thoughts and prayers to all of the family.