Karol Lenore McNeer
April 18, 1953 — August 31, 2020
Karol Lenore McNeer, 67, a longtime Imperial resident and former Lincoln Elementary School teacher, passed away quietly in her sleep on August 31, in her home.
Born April 18, 1953, in Los Angeles to Robert L. and Marilyn Jo Knight, Karol’s family moved in 1955 to National City, where she was raised. She was a Girl Scout Brownie and was active in Job’s Daughters Bethel #164 of National City. She belonged to the National City First Baptist Church youth group and was senior class treasurer at Sweetwater Union High School in National City. Growing up, her family discussed faith, politics, and the arts at the dinner table, setting the stage for a life filled with love and appreciation for all three.
Karol graduated from SUHI in 1971 before continuing her education at United States International University in San Diego, graduating in 1975 with her Bachelor of Arts degree. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Multicultural Education from Pepperdine University, attending school in Mexico while pursuing her master’s.
Karol was a substitute teacher for two years in San Diego and afterward taught first through sixth grades over her 33 years at Lincoln Elementary School in El Centro. The story of how she came to El Centro is one she enjoyed sharing, often with a broad smile and a chuckle. On trips to visit family in Indiana, the Knights would come through El Centro, stopping for food or fuel. As a youngster, Karol wasn’t impressed with the area. While looking for a teaching job, she prayed God would not send her to teach in El Centro, but that is where she came in 1977. She fell in love with Lincoln Elementary, her students, and the Imperial Valley, retiring in June 2010.
Shortly after moving to the Valley, she became involved with Imperial Community Church in Imperial, where she met her husband, William “Bill” McNeer of Imperial. They married on December 19, 1981. The McNeers have long been active in and supporters of off-road racing. Shortly before her death they purchased a new off-road vehicle, which she had the pleasure of riding in twice.
Karol was an efficient organizer, helping put together Lincoln’s first Student Study Tea and the school’s annual Career Day. She was known for leaving a leadership position well organized, complete with binders full of instructions for the next leader. She was a member of the Imperial Valley Reading Council, working on the Imperial County Spelling Contest. She was a director for Birthright of Imperial Valley (now BirthChoice).
At Imperial Community Church, where she was a longtime member, she was youth director in the summer of 1981, for several years was a Sunday school teacher for the Primary Department and ARC homes class, was an Awana leader, Vacation Bible School co-leader, and the “crafts lady” for many children’s events. After retiring from teaching, she taught Released Time and was involved in Child Evangelism Fellowship training.
Karol loved the Lord Jesus, accepting him as her Savior at age 10 at First Baptist Church, National City. She savored life to the fullest. She enjoyed conservative politics, remembering well shaking President Nixon’s hand. She attended the 1996 Republican Convention in San Diego and belonged to the local chapter of the Republican Women.
She cherished learning about history. She was a life member of the Imperial Valley Pioneers’ Society and belonged to the Native Daughters of the Golden West. She especially enjoyed scrapbooking; her best friend, Julie Malan, dubbed her scrapbooking room the Karol McNeer Museum. She loved to travel, meticulously planning out places to visit and sights to see. She visited the East Coast twice, as well as Atlanta, Omaha, and Seattle.
Karol relished her coffee and in her later years was a regular at 3:16 coffee shop in Imperial.
Karol is survived by her husband of 38 years, Bill McNeer; sister and brother-in-law, Kandace and Mark Holm of Prescott, Arizona; niece, Helena Soto of Temecula; sister-in-law, Lynn Yapel of Las Vegas; brother-in-law, Martin McNeer of Imperial; and many, many friends.
Karol’s passing leaves an enormous void in the hearts of her family and friends, in her church, and in her community, but those who knew her well know where she is today.
A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. September 19 at Imperial Community Church with Pastor Jim Simpson officiating. Plans are to livestream the service. Please check the church’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/imperialcommunitychurch, for updates.
Karol’s family suggests donations in her name may be made to Imperial Community Church, 300 W. Barioni Blvd., Imperial, CA 92251.