Joe was born to Earl and Virginia (Davis) Neville in Roswell, New Mexico on September 18, 1944. After an almost four year battle with the Big C, he passed away at his home on August 11, 2019 in Billings, Montana.
Joe had a strong work ethic, beginning when as a Junior High student; he tagged along with a good friend (Doug Crichton) to Doug’s job at the East Side Dairy in Deer Lodge. After a while, the owner (Walt Hansen) started paying Joe as well ($3.00 a week, $5.00 after that)! When he was a junior in high school, he went to work for Jens Hansen at both the Rialto Theater in Deer Lodge and the Rustic Drive-In Theater, which was located about 2 miles south of Deer Lodge on the east side of what is now the Interstate 90 highway.
Joe attended elementary school grades 1-3 in the one-room schoolhouse on the Warm Springs campus, where his mother was employed as an RN. He attended 4th grade in Rupert, Idaho, but the draw to Montana brought the family back to Deer Lodge where he completed his elementary and high school education, graduating from Powell County High School in 1962.
He married Dena Ahl of Elliston, MT in 1963, and from this union, two children, Theresa and Chuck were born. Joe and Dena later divorced.
He worked at the Montana Phosphate and Reylea Mines near Garrison in Powell County as well as at sawmills in Deer Lodge and Libby.
Joe joined the Navy in November of 1964 and served for 6 years. He was particularly proud of his service on the nuclear-powered carrier, USS Enterprise CVAN-65, as well as his time in Idaho Falls as an instructor at the Naval Nuclear Power Prototype site. He was discharged in November of 1970, and subsequently completed a 2-year course study in Industrial Electronics from Helena Vo-Tech.
Joe and Kathy met at the home of Howard and Irene Wells of Elliston, MT, in 1971 and were married at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in East Helena, MT, on May 20, 1972.
In 1972, he went to work for Western Microwave, a division of TCI (Telecommunications Inc.), a position which afforded him the opportunity to share his talents around the world, including helping install a telephone system in Saudi Arabia, attending many historic events to facilitate uplink of TV signals to satellites, such as some of the Space Shuttle launches, the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, professional tennis tournaments, baseball games and other events. When he wasn’t globe trotting, he spent many hours in the beautiful mountains of Montana and Idaho tending to microwave sites so that we all could enjoy our favorite TV programs. He retired in 2002.
After retirement, Joe became an accomplished woodworker, and received many blue ribbons and other awards for his entries into MontanaFair. He also enjoyed his Harley, family get togethers, and movies.
Joe is survived by his wife of 47 years, Kathy, and their daughters: Tonna Neville, of Bozeman; Nikki Neville (Faron Running Crane); and Trina Weston (former son-in-law Seth Weston III) of Billings, MT. He is also survived by his oldest daughter Theresa Lauri (Randy) of Boise, ID; and his son Chuck Neville of Aurora, CO(former daughters-in-law Angelia Zipplies of Colorado Springs, CO; and Becky Foster of Firestone, CO); nine grandchildren: Melanie Renk (Andy) of Seattle, WA; Megan Fox (Tim) of Boise, ID; Tom Lauri (Katelynn) of Boise, ID; CJ Neville (Joycelyn) of Highland Park, IL; Paul Neville (Julie) of Chesapeake, VA; Jett Neville of Aurora, CO; Brayden, Ashton, and Emma Running Crane, and Olivia Weston, all of Billings, MT; and five great grandchildren: Josiah and Jazmaya Neville of Highland Park, IL; Evelyn (Evie) and Gwendolyn (Gigi) of Chesapeake, VA; and Tiegan Fox of Boise, ID.
Visitation will be held at Heights Family Funeral Home at 733 W. Wicks Ln, Billings, MT 59105 on Friday, August 16, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00PM. Graveside services with military honors will be held at 3:00PM on Saturday, August 17, 2019 At Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge, MT.
Longtime friend, Jim Walker of Belgrade, MT will officiate at the graveside service.
Memorials are suggested to the Rialto Theater, PO Box 874, Deer Lodge, MT 59722 (Phone: 406-846-7900); RiverStone Health Hospice, 123 South 27th Street, Billings, MT 59101 (phone: 406-651-6555) or to Friends of Montana PBS, PO Box 173340, Bozeman, MT 59717 (Phone: 1-800-426-8243). Please indicate the donation is in memory of Joe Neville; or simply enjoy a Backroads of Montana, Doc Martin, woodworking, science, history, or nature program in his memory.