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McNeil Elementary School opened its doors in August, 2001 in honor of Arthur McNeil.
Arthur Hoff McNeil was born in McKinney, Texas, on April 2, 1937; he was the son of Arthur Lee McNeil and Marie Johanna Hoff McNeil. He was an only child as well as being the only grandson for both his McNeill and Hoff grandparents. You can bet that Arthur got plenty of attention while growing up. He grew up in a home that emphasized education and Christianity; his family attended Central Presbyterian Church at the corner of Davis and Church streets. Arthur still attends this church, which is now Trinity Presbyterian Church. His parents taught him to be successful and his mother believed that he should bathe every Saturday night and to go Sunday School and church on Sunday.
Arthur attended J.H. Hill Elementary during the 1st grade. For grades 2-6, he attended J.L. Greer Elementary. His junior high years were spent at L.A. Scott Junior High School and he graduated from Boyd High School in 1955. While in school he was active in the Typing Club, Allied Youth, DE Club, and the Drama Club. He went directly to complete his college education in 3-1/2 years at North Texas State University in Denton.
As a young boy, Arthur began delivering the McKinney Daily Courier Gazette for Pete and Tom Perkins. He later delivered the Sherman Democrat, The Ft. Worth Press, The Ft. Worth Star Telegram, and the Dallas Times Herald to the entire city of McKinney for Edwin Powers. He had to collect 25c each week from his customers, of which he earned 10c. While in DE during his Senior year, he worked at C & T Grocery Store, owned by Roy Caldwell & Jim Thompson. As soon as he finished this job, he went to work at the McKinney Drive-In Theatre, working in the snack bar at night. Arthur learned to operate the projection machines by going to the projection booth after the snack bar closed.
Living in Arlington with Curtis and Myrtice Larson, Arthur did his practice teaching at Arlington High School. Mrs. Larson honored MISD and Arthur by leaving a gift to McNeil Elementary school, which was used to create the Bluebonnet section of the school library.
Arthur graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from North Texas State University in Dec 1958 and began teaching 6th grade at J.L. Hill Elementary in January 1959, where he had begun his education as a 1st grader. He later earned a Master’s degree in Administration and Counseling from North Texas State University. He did post-graduate work at the School of Business Management.
On November 26, 1958, Arthur married Frances “Penny” Woodson, whom he was introduced to by her brother-in-law, with whom he was riding back and forth to North Texas State University. Penny taught 1st grade for 16 years at J.W. Webb Elementary. They have three children and five grandchildren.
Mr. McNeil’s career with MISD began in January 1959 and partially ended in 1995 with his retirement; however, he then worked part-time for MISD until August 2002. His areas of responsibility were 6th grade, coaching girls’ softball Little League, filming varsity football games, school yearbook, Vocational Education, Distributive Education, Vice-Principal at McKinney High School, MISD Business Manager, and Asst. Superintendent of Business Affairs for MISD.
Since retiring, Mr. McNeil has the time to enjoy his favorite hobby of golfing. He manages to do a little fishing as well. He is active in his church, Trinity Presbyterian Church, where he teaches one of the adult classes on Sunday morning. When asked how it felt to have a school named after him, Mr. McNeil replied, “It is a very humbling and overwhelming experience.” He added that it’s something he’s not supposed to be alive and see. You will very likely meet Mr. & Mrs. McNeil at any of the school’s many functions.