Neil Jerome Fuchs was born June 21, 1926 in Tekoa, WA to Emma (Reiland) and Michael J. Fuchs. The eighth of twelve children (first of four boys,) he was a lifelong resident of Tekoa. He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Tekoa near the present-day location of Sacred Heart Church and later enlisted in the U.S. Army –serving in the Korean War from 1950-1952. In recent years, he was an active member of American Legion Post #241 in Spokane---and received a special award from the National American Legion Commander two weeks before his death. Neil was also deeply honored to participate in the Inland Northwest Honor Flight in the spring of 2012 accompanied by his eldest daughter, Denise.
In late 1954, Neil met the love of his life, Antonella “Nellie” Marie Flynn. They married May 7, 1955 and raised their family on the Fuchs family farm one mile north of Tekoa at the foot of Tekoa Mountain. Neil operated the family farm until his death. In addition to farming, Neil had a passion for farming and mechanics – he taught and mentored many young men & women who shared those honorable passions.
Neil passed away Wednesday, November 24, 2021. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nellie; son Kevin; and daughter Debbie-- as well as his parents and eleven siblings. He is survived by-- and will be greatly missed by-- his six surviving children and their families: Denise (Chris) Keegan of Olympia; Ken (Betsy) Fuchs of Fairfield; Paul (Connie) Fuchs of Spokane; Kitty Thomas of Ephrata; Julie (Eric) Olson of Spokane; and Neil Jr. (Teri) of Valleyford along with 20 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
To meet him, you would not suspect his shoulders had carried heavy burdens that would have crumbled the strongest of most men.
There was always room at the family table for the less fortunate. He’d often get out of bed in the middle of the night to help someone. He never complained nor looked back. Each day was a gift.
Physically, his heart tried to betray him more than once -- but his strong faith and unending love seemed to make his weakened heart strong. He endured tremendous loss & his heart was broken many times… but, like the family dinner table, he still made room in that heart for everyone around him and he always chose to forgive. His sincere hugs always made you feel like you were the only one in the room.
One of the things you first noticed about him were his hands----- those large, hard-working hands prayed the Rosary daily, worked the soil, birthed livestock, comforted his babies, and held the family close when we lost our sister Debbie, our brother Kevin, and when he lost the love of his life – Nellie, our mother. Those hands carried the scars of an honest life well-lived.
His eyes were the windows to a beautiful & kind soul who only saw the good in people. Honestly, he never saw the negative in others – he consciously chose to pay attention to the good and never spoke ill of anyone. One felt instantly accepted when he met you – no judgement. His handshake was his word. When people betrayed his genuine trust in them, he held no grudge. If people took things from him, he’d say “they must have needed it more than me.” His faith in God was a beacon of light for those proud enough to call him Dad. He and Nellie often reminded their children that actions speak far louder than words and to always treat others as you would want to be treated.
If you asked him how he was, he always spoke with gratitude. He was grateful for his children, grateful for his long and productive life, and grateful the Good Lord had allowed him to stay on this Earth for so long to be with his family. Therefore, it is truly ironic (but fitting) that he passed away on the eve of a day when we all stop to give thanks. We still have so much to learn from his example! Let’s hold each other close.
No words can adequately describe Neil- whom everyone knew as a man of character, strength, honesty, integrity, and (above all) love. As one granddaughter said, “If you knew him, you didn’t need to describe him and, if you didn’t know him, there are not enough words to adequately tell you.”
Catholic Rosary for Neil will take place Friday evening December 17, 2021 beginning at 5pm at St. Peter Catholic Church; 3520 E. 18th Avenue; Spokane, WA. Holy Mass will take place Saturday December 18, 2021 at 11am in the same location. Due to current pandemic restrictions, the burial ceremony in Tekoa will be private.
The family requests memorial contributions may be made to the Tekoa Slippery Gulch organization in Tekoa- PO Box 512; Tekoa, WA 99033; the Tekoa Ambulance Fund- PO Box 597; Tekoa, WA 99033 – or another charity of one’s choice. Neil would ask you to please be respectful and kind to each other. There is no greater nor more important legacy.
Kramer Funeral Home of Palouse, Washington is caring for the family. Online condolences may be left at www.kramercares.com
TEKOA AMBULANCE FUND
PO BOX 597, TEKOA WA 99033
TEKOA SLIPPERY GULCH ORGANIZATION
P.O. BOX 512, TEKOA WA 99033