Lewis Neil Tschannen

April 17, 1946June 14, 2019

Lewis “Neil” Tschannen passed away on Friday, June 14, 2019 at the age of 73, in Sanford, Florida. Neil was born on April 17, 1946 in Craigville, Indiana to Donald and Elizabeth Marie Tschannen.

Growing up in Indiana, Neil was actively involved in the local 4-H and Junior Achievement programs. He graduated in 1964 from Lancaster Central School, Bluffton. Through the 4-H and Junior Achievement experiences, he expanded his many talents of working with electrical and remodeling projects, which led to business ventures. After serving in the US Navy, Neil became active in law enforcement, serving as a Deputy Sheriff in Wells County and a Deputy Marshall in Huntington County. In his spare time, he loved to participate in dirt track racing at Baer Field Raceways in Fort Wayne. He was active with the local Street Fair Association and was always willing to lend a hand to anyone in need of help. He owned and operated a discount store and carpet business in Murray, which kept him connected with the public and his passion to help others. After traveling back and forth to the southern states for the business, the decision was made to move to Florida.

Neil attended the River of Life Church of Volusia and First Baptist Church Lake Monroe. He was heavily involved at River of Life. He worked with the 4-H program, did electrical work, plumbing and building projects. He also was involved from the start with Mission Possible Camp, an outdoor camp for kids where the children learn about the Bible and Christian values, do physical activities like canoeing, archery, obstacle course and learn life skills like compass navigation, how to make a fire, how to tie a tie, etc. Neil was the shopkeeper of the camp store, where kids came to spend the megabucks they earned. Neil’s greatest joy in life was being Santa Claus. Nothing made him happier than to see a child’s face light up as they ran to give him a hug. He played Santa for private parties, at day cares, nursing homes, and our church’s annual Christmas in the Country event. He once even got a marriage proposal from a nursing home visit at Christmas. He would start wearing a red shirt and his Santa hat at Thanksgiving and all through the Christmas season. He even dressed as Santa to pass out Halloween candy every year.

Neil’s other passion was model trains. He loved to collect them, read about them, work on train layouts and going to model train shows to browse and shop. His prized possession is an HO scale Galloping Goose railcar.

Neil’s sense of humor brightened everyone’s life that he came in contact with. Even though the last year was very difficult healthwise, he never complained and continued to laugh, joke around, and make people smile. He will be greatly missed and we will always carry his memory in our hearts. Neil was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Marie. He is survived by his beloved wife, Terri, his baby sister Sue (Jon), a daughter, granddaughter and one great grandchild.

A celebration of his life will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, June 22, 2019 at First Baptist Church of Lake Monroe, 691 Monroe Road, Sanford, Florida, 32771. Neil’s desire was to be cremated and half his ashes scattered on the River of Life Church property and half back home in Indiana. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to River of Life Church of Volusia, 130 Garfield Road, Enterprise, FL 32725.


  • Celebration of Life Service Saturday, June 22, 2019


Lewis Neil Tschannen

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Emma and Harry Marrison

June 22, 2019

Neil loved children and when we went to Christmas in the Country at River of Life Church we had 2 little ones with us that got to meet Santa and Mrs. Santa. The kids were so excited and we will never forget that. His spirit will always remain in our hearts until we all meet again on that glorious day. Praise God, our best days are STILL yet to come. Our prayers are for Terri and family and loved ones left behind. Ps 68:5, Matt 5:4, John 14:18: I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Love in Christ.

Linda Rice

June 17, 2019

Neil was the type of person that could put a smile on anyone's face, young or old. He was a kind, caring and wonderful man. He will be greatly missed.

Alix McDaniel

June 17, 2019

Santa wasn’t real until we met Neil. To see his love for everybody, specially the children, is something that will always remind us of his sweetness and Christ like heart.
No doubt God called him home to bring more joy to all those children that have gone too young.