Obituary Listings

Mary Elizabeth Neal (Atkinson)
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Obituary for Mary Elizabeth Neal (Atkinson)

Mary Elizabeth Atkinson Neal passed away on the wintry morning of Thursday, January 4, at Villa Angela Care Center in Columbus after a serious illness. She was 92 years old.

She was born January 18, 1925 in Portsmouth, Ohio, to Johnson Atkinson and his wife Helen Atkinson (Simmington), and spent much of her life in nearby Maysville, Kentucky. She loved the Lord and had been an active member of Washington Missionary Baptist Church in Maysville, and Refuge Baptist Church in Columbus, where she sang in the gospel choir.

Mary was a strong, independent person and a hard worker all her life. She loved to crochet, cook and sew, and spent many years working as a seamstress, including sewing house shoes at R. G. Barry Company in Columbus—which often left her with sore fingers and split nails. In the kitchen, “She could take nothing and make something out of it,” as one friend recalled, and was well known for her delicious homemade apple butter, jams and cakes. Her motto was “Keep flour, sugar and butter, and you’ll never go hungry,” and she never wasted a shred of food or a drop of juice.

She loved ice cream, fried chicken, and her son Jay’s homemade pickles; watching TV news, reading romance novels, and going on outings with friends. Her sweet, outgoing disposition continued to win friends for her right through her final days.

Mary was preceded in death by husband Leroy Neal; daughter Sherry Lynn Tufts; her parents; older brother Ernest Johnson Atkinson; and grandson Andre Ellis. Left to cherish her memory are her sons, Harvey Atkinson, Jay Ellis, and Sherry’s twin brother, Terry (Charlene Brown) Neal; grandchildren Helenia, Latiecha and Talisha Tufts, Terryel Neal (Mike) Krug, Lezley Neal, Redd Pender, and Leslie Ellis; several great-grandchildren; and many beloved friends.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Mary Elizabeth Neal (Atkinson), please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events





2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Diehl-Whittaker Funeral Service

720 East Long Street
Columbus, Ohio 43203

Floral deliveries for the family of Mary Neal will be accepted at the funeral home, 10a-1p, on Friday, January 19, 2018.

Funeral Service




3:00 PM
Diehl-Whittaker Funeral Service

720 East Long Street
Columbus, Ohio 43203

Graveside Committal Service




2:30 PM
Green Acres Memory Garden

831 US-62
Maysville, Kentucky 41056

Under the direction of Palmer Funeral Home & Crematory, 5043 Main Street, May's Lick, KY 41055; Tel: 1-606-763-6405.


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