Early Thursday morning, March 24, 2016, Neil Luce, age 79, gracefully and peacefully passed away with his family present in his Jordan home and was blessed to have experienced the gifts of God’s presence.
The family will celebrate Neil’s life with a time of gathering on Friday, April 1, from 4-7 pm at Ballard-Sunder Funeral and Cremation, Jordan Chapel and one hour prior to the Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, April 2, at 11 am, at The Parish of Saints Joachim and Anne (Marystown). Father Erik Lundgren will preside. The urn bearers will be his grandchildren. The Shakopee Veteran Honor Guard will provide military honors at his final resting place in St. Mary’s of Marystown Catholic Cemetery.
The middle child of nine, Neil Herbert Luce was born on August 4, 1936 on the family farm in Spring Lake Township, MN, to parents Roman and Louise (Lenzmeier) Luce. His family then moved to a farm in Prior Lake. In 1943 they settled across the road from O’Dowd’s Lake in Shakopee, MN. Neil attended Catholic school at Marystown through the eighth grade and later achieved his GED. Walking home from school and living by a lake began a lifetime love of the outdoors and exploring all of nature’s beauty. Neil spent countless hours as a young man assisting his family with the daily farm chores. As a young lad, he also enjoyed playing baseball and boxing with the Shakopee Golden Gloves.
Neil worked locally doing odd jobs until he enlisted in the United States Air Force at the age of 19. Neil was hoping to see the world, but instead was stationed in Chandler, MN as a radar monitor. After being honorably discharged he worked for Owens-Illinois for many years. But Neil’s true gift was his wealth of knowledge that was best used assisting customers at Knox Lumber for decades, until he retired in his early sixties.
It was at Owens-Illinois that Neil found his true love, Benilee Leslie Barr. They started dating and the rest became history. On May 28, 1966 at St. Mary’s of the Purification, Marystown, Neil and Benilee were joined in Holy Matrimony. They first lived in Prior Lake while building their dream home in rural Jordan surrounded by trees and wildlife — a wonderful playground for their children, Lynnette, Jennifer, Elizabeth and Neil to enjoy.
Neil passed on his love of the outdoors to his children. As a family they were always doing something outdoors. The family enjoyed ice fishing trips to Mille Lacs, hunting squirrels in the woods, pulling weeds in the garden and later fixing and renovating their homes. Neil could do anything, fix anything, and build anything. Despite a tight budget, Neil and Benilee purchased land on the lake and built a garage cabin. To this day, the family has spent countless hours enjoying the outdoors, playing games and time together as a family. There were also other interests Neil enjoyed, such as building model airplanes, reading all types of books and magazines, bird watching and hunting. After retirement, he dedicated his time to the yard and garden.
Family was always the most important and Neil’s life was enriched to the fullest, becoming a grandpa and great-grandpa. He was a hands on grandpa and was proud to mentor all. Neil too was a loving brother and uncle. A man of few words, when he spoke it was worth listening to. Neil was patient, humble, steadfast and down to earth. He had a great sense of humor, strong work ethic and was very compassionate.
Neil’s legacy will live on with his wife of almost 50 years, Benilee; children, Jennifer (Mark) Carbert, Elizabeth (Scott) Simon, Neil R. Luce; grandchildren, Bryce (Kaitlin) Bjerke, Brande Bjerke, Sarah Olson, Sophia Olson, Sylvia Olson, Andrew Carbert, Cameron Carbert, Brittani Nelson, Bryton Nelson, Breanna Nelson, Ryley Simon, Kayley Simon, , ; great-grandchildren, Brady Lee Bjerke, Rilynn Rae Bjerke; siblings, Elsie (Gilbert) Kerber, James Luce, Leon (Arlene) Luce, Mark Luce, Audrey (Clarence) Kaiser, Louanne (Lyle) Krueger, Helene (Steven) Schmitt; other loving relatives and devoted friends.
Preceded in death by his daughter, Lynnette Olson; grandson, Payton Carbert; parents, Roman and Louise; brother and sister-in-law, Eugene and Mary Luce; and sister-in-law, Joanne Luce.
Ballard-Sunder Funeral Home and Cremation, Jordan Chapel, proudly served and cared for the Luce family. www.ballardsunderfuneral.comPrint Obituary & Condolences