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Esther McNeal
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1924 - 2018
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Obituary for Esther McNeal

Esther Louise McNeal, 94, of Missoula, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 at home, after a long battle with melanoma.

She was born on Sept. 6, 1924 the fourth of seven living children to William and Emma (Vogel) Infanger and was raised on the family ranch outside Kremmling, Colorado. Along with her chores at home, Esther also worked at a local store for 10 cents an hour prior to graduating from Kremmling High School.

The family relocated to North Fork, Idaho where together they ran the North Fork Store. Esther loved the area and the people of Salmon/North Fork. It was here that she began a many decades-long career in the medical profession while working in doctors’ offices. Her attitude and skills were sought-after and she was soon offered a job in Hamilton and then Missoula moving to the Garden City in the late 1940s. Among others, she worked for Doctors Odgers; Lowe, Harris, and George; and Gouaux.

In 1952, Esther fell in love with a handsome airplane mechanic and she and Raleigh McNeal began married life in a one-room house on Cottonwood Street. Some years later the little family moved and were joined by their daughter Polly.

Esther made a host of wonderful friends throughout the years, many at Holy Family Parish. She treasured her Base Community as they shared fun times preparing dinners at the Poverello Center, the St. Patrick’s Day dinner, and other group activities.

After retirement, Esther traveled around the United States spending time with her siblings and seeing the sights. She enjoyed reading, calligraphy, latch hook, and Griz football! When her grandson, Gideon, was born, Esther loved spending time with him.

Esther’s true calling in life was as a mother, grandmother, and a friend. She could be depended on as a fierce ally and enthusiastic supporter.

She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings Elsie (Warren) Mann; Tom (Jane), and Carl (Lucille) Infanger; and her husband Raleigh. She is survived by her daughter Polly, grandson Gideon, sisters Ilene Westfall, Loretta (Gary) Gould, Jodi (Kaye) Bergman, many in-laws, nieces and nephews. She also leaves behind special friends Diane Larson, Jane and Randy Holst, and Marlene Garrison who went above and beyond in recent years coming to Esther’s aid and comfort. She was surrounded by abundant love throughout her life and it was well-deserved.

A funeral mass will be held at Blessed Trinity Parish on Oct. 18, 2018 at 11 a.m.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Esther McNeal, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

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