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Neil ('Smokey') Eckel, 80

| June 11, 2010 4:29 AM

Neil (“Smokey”) Eckel, 80, of Coeur d’Alene, passed away on June 6, 2010. Neil was born in Spokane, Wash., to his parents Michael and Katherine Eckel, who both preceded him in death. Neil graduated from North Central High School. After high school, he served as an expert sharpshooter in the National Guard.

Neil married Shirley McMurray of Spokane. Neil and Shirley had six children together, Carol Johnson, Patrick Eckel, Randy Eckel, Jody Thiemens, Penny Lamb and Cheryl Byers. Shirley and their son, Randy, preceded Neil in death.

Neil is also survived by a sister, Anita Sveredus and Leo Eckel, both of Spokane. Neil also has 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Neil worked in the grocery business since leaving the National Guard and retired from Safeway after 35 years of service. In his retirement, Neil enjoyed watching football and Gonzaga basketball, and spending time with his family and friends. His favorite place to go was the Fort Ground Bar & Grill in Coeur d’Alene. Neil was a very kind, generous person, with a great sense of humor. Neil will be greatly missed by all that knew and loved him.

A celebration of Neil’s life will be held at a later date at the Fort Ground Bar & Grill in Coeur d’Alene. 

Please visit Neil’s memorial and sign his online guest book at www.yatesfuneralhomes.com.

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