Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Ernest L. Neville, Major, USAF (Retired)July 04, 1931 – February 12, 2012
Ernest L. Neville, age 80, of Tecumseh, MI. passed away February 12, 2012.
Ernest was born July 4, 1931 in Detroit, MI., the son of Ambrose and Sarah (Doherty) Neville. On Aug. 13, 1955 he married Victoria Boissonneau in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and she survives. Ernest was a career officer in the United States Air Force achieving the rank of Major. He was a Rescue Helicopter Pilot flying many missions throughout the world. Ernest was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal along with many other medals throughout his twenty-year career.
Upon retirement from the Air Force, Ernest was director of the Michigan Green Thumb program. In 1976 he attended Ferris State University graduating with two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Business Administration and the other in Data Processing. After graduating from Ferris he worked at the University of Michigan as a Program Analyst retiring in 1991.
Ernest was a member of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, Tecumseh and their Knights of Columbus. He also had memberships in the American Legion, Farmers Union and the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.
In addition to his wife, Victoria, Ernest is survived by his children, Pamela Harris, Lawrence (Julie) Neville, Ronald (Renee) Neville, Charlene (Bart) Zeluff and Patricia Neville; 8 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; sisters, Rita and Darlene and brother, Ambrose.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Maurice.
A Funeral Mass and celebration of his life will be 11 a.m. Thursday, February 16, 2012 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church with Fr. Paul Ruddy as celebrant. Military honors will be performed by the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Oh. Private burial will take place at Brookside Cemetery, Tecumseh, MI.
Visitation was from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, Tecumseh, MI. with a prayer service starting at 7 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.
~MISSION DESCRIPTION DURING CAREER~(From Kaman Rotor Tips Nov-Dec 1969)
Det. 3, 38th ARRSq., Ubon Airfield, Thailand. An HH-43 scrambled with the fire suppression kit when a C-47 lost an engine on takeoff. Seconds later the downed “bird” was sighted afloat in the Mun River so Capt Ernest L. Neville set the FSK on the shore and the two firemen, Sgt.’s Booker T. McCoy and David R. Oakes, alighted. The helicopter then hovered over the flowing river while Sergeant Vanbeuzekom lowered the forest penetrator to rescue one survivor who was seriously injured and being supported by two other men. He was taken to the hospital and then the HH-43 returned and picked up three more injured men. Four others had been taken to shore in sampans. The survivors were aided at the scene by the firemen from the HH-43. Copilot on the mission was Captain Churchill.