Richard Bruce McNiel

February 1, 1947July 3, 2018
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Richard Bruce McNiel,71, born in Charleston, West Virginia, passed from battling a brief illness at Hubbard Hospice House on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. He graduated from Charleston High School in 1965 and attended Morris Harvey College. After college, he went to work at McNiel Fence company for his father and grandfather. He eventually became president and owner of the family business along with his sister and brother-in-law Linda and Charles Snyder and retired after 49 years of service. He was active most of his life in the Methodist Church, serving 20-plus years in youth ministry and churchwide retreats, and most recently was a member of Cross Lanes Bible Church. The Kanawha Valley Emmaus community was also a vital part of his church life. After retirement, he became a member of the Kanawha Valley Corvette Club. He was preceded in death by his father, Sidney E. McNiel. He is survived by wife, Valerie McNiel; mother, Martha McNiel; and sister Linda Snyder and husband Charlie; son, Richie McNiel, and wife, Leslie, and grandchildren Sophie and Rylee; daughter, Tracie Atkinson, and husband Tommy; and loved by numerous nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank the staff of The Cleveland Clinic and the Hubbard Hospice House in South Charleston. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 7, 2018, at Tyler Mountain Funeral Home. A celebration of his life will follow at 1 p.m., officiated by Rev. Richie McNiel. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hubbard Hospice House.


  • Visitation Saturday, July 7, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, July 7, 2018

Richard Bruce McNiel

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Jeff Null

July 8, 2018

Mrs. McNiel and Richie,

Our family returned home from vacation yesterday evening and when I read the paper and saw Mr. McNiel's obituary, I was very saddened and wanted to express my (our) sincere sympathy for your loss. When our paths crossed in the mid 90s via Nitro High Cross Country, your family impacted me in a very strong way. I have such fond memories of the relationships formed through that time of my life and the Christ-like love and kindness that your family extended to me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have coached Richie and get to know him on a personal level. He was quite an extraordinary young man (as well as an athlete) and I know he continues to flourish by serving the Lord and sharing the gospel. Your family was authentic and demonstrated a warmth and care that I paid attention to. Thank You for how you treated and loved me and I can only imagine the countless others your family impacted in a similar way.
May the Lord provide you peace and comfort in this time of loss. I lost my Daddy about 8 years ago, and I still miss him severely. However, as you guys know, on this side of heaven many days are difficult and we experience pain, loss, and many trials, but we rejoice that soon we will see our loved ones again, eternally!
I am so sorry that I was not in town to attend the service and be with you. I love you two and my heart hurts with you. Please give each other a hug from me.

Becky Haynes

July 7, 2018

Dear Val and Family, I am so sorry to hear of Richard's passing. I wish I could have been at the funeral to give support to all of you. I was out of town or I would have been there. If there is anything I can do to help you please do not hesitate to call me. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Becky



“Seeing is believing.” For many, those words simply represent a motto. But for Richard Bruce McNiel, it summarized in every way who he was. He was modest, quiet and observant, taking in everything around him and always thinking before acting. He was a realist, someone who was efficient and practical in everything he did. He was a friendly person who truly cared about those around him.

       He was the son of Sidney E. McNiel and Martha Lee Tabor McNiel. Raised on Dutch Road in Charleston, West Virginia, he was brought up to be tolerant and trustworthy. As a child, he learned to be conscientious, responsible and punctual. These were all traits that he would carry with him throughout his life.

      As a young boy, Richard was always aware of how others around him felt and this quality served him well. With a deep capacity to tolerate the feelings of others, Richard was generally able to avoid conflicts. It seemed as if Richard was the family member who was always working to keep stress at bay. Preferring a quiet environment where he could concentrate, Richard also had the ability to relate well with his family and friends. Richard was raised with one sibling. He had one younger sister, Linda. Richard was constantly involved in activities with his family. Richard and his siblings had the typical rivalries while growing up but they deeply cared for each other and shared many life experiences over the years.

      Growing up, Richard was one of those children who didn’t need to be in the center of a whirlwind of activity. He was content to entertain himself. Richard was never pushy when it came to games and other activities, but rather, he was able to enjoy the pure fun these could bring. In just about everything he did as a child, Richard was intent on pleasing both the adults and the other children around him. Richard took part in a number of activities as a child. He took part in baseball, football, and basketball in the neighborhood. He was active in church activities. In his spare time he liked to build model cars and H. O. Railroad sets.

      Richard enjoyed learning. He always had a great memory and was particularly skilled at retaining factual information. Richard was generally quiet in class, learning best through observation. He often showed great concentration and was competent at completing the tasks at hand. Good with details, Richard was painstaking and accurate in his efforts. All of these talents culminated in a successful high school career. He graduated from Charleston High School in 1965. Richard enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite subjects and teachers. His favorite class in high school was business classes and history. He will be remembered as one of the kindest, most caring, and fun guys.

      Most folks would say that Richard was shy until they got to know him. Those who were privileged to know him well learned that he was a solid, good friend. Richard was reluctant to generalize about people, and he based his friendships on his personal experiences. Because of this, Richard best trusted those people that he truly knew. He was concerned about how those around him felt, and he always seemed to uncover the positive side of people. He could relate to others and had the ability to see their point of view, to “walk a mile in their shoes,” as the saying goes. The friends that he made, Richard kept. While growing up, some of his best friends were Donnie White, Eddie Andrews, and Steve Samples. Later in life, he became friends with Bill and Carolyn Tully, David Mills, Cindy and Mike Harvey, Michelle and Mike Morris, and Tim and Karen Hogan.

      Love can’t be defined but must be experienced. That was so true for Richard. On April 12, 1969 Richard married Valerie Rae Morgan at Trinity United Methodist Church of Charleston, West Virginia. He was totally committed to Valerie and maintained traditional ideals about marriage. It was as if Richard naturally sensed his spouse’s needs, and accepted those feelings unconditionally. Although Richard disliked conflict, he did not take flight from discord, but rather sought to preserve harmony even during the most trying times.

      Richard was a good father to his children. He had “old fashioned” parental values and could handle typical family conflicts in a fair and calm manner. Because he trusted emotions, Richard was reluctant to force issues and used gentle persuasion to resolve situations. In this way he seemed to radiate an aura of warmth and caring to those around him, always thinking before acting. In addition, Richard was a master planner. No matter how hectic life around him might be, he seemed to know and track everyone’s schedule. Richard was blessed with two children, one daughter Tracie Lynn McNiel and one son Richard (Richie) McNiel. They were also blessed with two gandaughters, Sophie Lea McNiel and Rylee Grace McNiel.

      If you gave Richard a deadline, he would meet it. At work, Richard was always on task. Without hesitation, Richard could adhere to any assignment and see it through to its completion. His primary occupation was owner and operator of McNiel Fence. He was employed for 49 years. During that time, Richard excelled in working with small groups in order to complete assignments. He was able to quickly grasp concrete ideas and could organize and plan the best way to accomplish things with remarkable consistency. Richard was good at staying on track and was considerate in listening to what others had to say. In this way, Richard had a true gift for being able to come up with practical resolutions to difficult problems. He was often the team member who managed to put forth a win/win solution for all parties.

      Richard liked to experience things first hand, in addition to simply learning about them. This quality influenced Richard's choice of leisure time activities. A methodical and patient worker, Richard preferred to set aside uninterrupted time to work on his hobbies. His favorite pursuits were collecting trains and new car memoribilia. Richard was content to sit quietly alone, enjoying his hobbies all by himself and could often be found just reading about his favorite pastimes.

      While thorough and measured in his approach to things, Richard often liked to physically do things rather than just think about them. He was like that with sports. Recreational sports included Basketball, softball, amd working out at the gym. He also enjoyed the statistical data and the facts behind the sports. In this way, he was something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching his favorite teams whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were football, basketball, baseball, and nascar.

      Due to his excellent organizational skills, Richard was a welcome addition to the professional and community organizations to which he belonged. Richard could bring established, successful methods to the discussion table, along with a generous helping of common sense. Richard was good at making and keeping schedules and never got bogged down in unnecessary details. Throughout his later years, Richard was an active member in the church treasury, youth director, amd taught Sunday School.

      An individual who respected and maintained traditional values, his faith was important to Richard. His compassion, consideration and sympathy toward others was evident in his personal beliefs. He was a member of United Methodist Church(Humphreys) for 50 years. During that time, he served as treasurer when he was young, taught Sunday school, did many retreats, and youth confirmation classes.

      Doing things to help others seemed to come naturally to Richard. He never set out to gain individual recognition, but the praise and accolades given him for his many and varied efforts throughout his life were well deserved. Some of his most prestigious awards included Best Fence Company in the Kanawha Valley, several times over he received this award and higheat seller of fencing on East coast.

      Anyone who traveled or went on vacation with Richard had smooth sailing. It was often taken for granted that he was the trip planner. He would start early and examine all of the possibilities, selecting the best and most effective options. Favorite vacations included Daytona Race Track, Myrtle Beach, and many years went to Cape Canaveral Florida.

      When Richard's retirement finally arrived in June 1, 2016, he was well prepared. He had taken the time to learn about his various options and chose his course wisely. His new life involved relocating to Cross Lanes, WV. In retirement, he found new pleasure in the Kanawha Valley Corvette Club. Even in retirement, Richard continued to stay in touch with his old friends while making plenty of new acquaintances. He was active in the community and felt fulfilled with the opportunities retirement offered him.

      Richard passed away on July 3, 2018 at Hubbard Hospice House. He fought against head and neck cancer. He is survived by His children Richie and Tracie, his wife Valerie, mother Martha, Sister Linda, and numerous nieces and nephews. Services were held at Tyler Mountain Funeral Home. Richard was laid to rest in Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens.

      It is said that some people can’t see the forest for the trees. Richard was able to focus on each individual tree, tending to its needs, thus making the forest stronger as a whole. Richard was a trustworthy, pragmatic and sympathetic person, the kind of man to whom everyone was drawn. He was thorough and practical. Richard McNiel was very literal with his words. You always knew where you stood with Richard. He will be missed.