George Neil McRae, returned to his heavenly home on Jan. 28, 2020, in Indio, Calif. He was born Sept. 30, 1928, in Bisbee, and raised in St. David, and was the son of George Alexander McRae and Gladys Bingham McRae.
As a young man, he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the North Central States. He attended Utah State in Logan, Utah, and the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he received his Master’s degree in Agronomy. He met his wife, Willadean Bryce, at the University of Arizona and they were married in the Mesa, Arizona Temple on Nov. 20, 1953.
George was employed by USDA in Phoenix, then moved to California, where he was the Farm Advisor for the University of California in the Coachella Valley for 28 years. He received awards for outstanding service to the growers. He and his wife also served a three-year mission at the San Diego Temple.
Neil was definitely a “man of the soil”. He at one time said, “of all the roads you travel, make sure that some of them are “dirt”! He loved to see things grow. He loved his work as Farm Advisor and later as a farmer. He was up before daylight every day, raring to go and looking forward to each and every day. He was an avid fisherman and hunter and taught his sons and grandsons his love of the outdoors. And above all, his love for his family took precedence over everything else. They were number one in his life.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Willadean; five children, Rande (Ruth) McRae, of Hurricane, Utah, Ty (Mindy) McRae of Orem, Utah, Bret (Myra) McRae, of La Quinta, Calif., Keri (George) Smith, of Indio, Calif., and Marnie (Rod) Cortez, of Rancho Mirage, Calif. He has 24 grandchildren and 44 great-grandchildren and still counting.
His daughter, Colleen Doria, preceded him in death in 2015.
A “Celebration of Life” will be held Saturday, Feb. 8, at 1 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 81-870 Ave. 48, Indio, Calif. A graveside service will be held at the Bryce Cemetery in Bryce, Arizona, on Monday, Feb. 10, at 10 a.m.
Graveside service arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be extended at www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com.