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Inventor, photographer, engineer, entrepreneur, gentleman farmer, Neil Anslie Newman, 93, was a true renaissance man. Born in Detroit on March 11,1928, the second of four children born to Anslie “Neil” Newman and Laurine née Wilhelm Newman, Neil passed away on May 13, 2021, surrounded by his family at his apartment at the Evergreen Retirement Community where he lived after the death of Ellen, his beloved wife of 70 years.
Nicknamed “Red” as a young man for his flaming Scottish red hair, Neil and his parents first lived in his maternal grandmother’s residence hotel in Hamtramck. His father was a Detroit policeman and his maternal uncle a bookie.
At 16 Neil enrolled at Michigan State College, now Michigan State University. While working his way through college with a job at the U.S. Army Cavalry stables he met his future wife, Ellen Mae Parsons, an avid equestrian. In 1949 he received a degree in Agriculture and immediately decided he did not want to be a farmer. The next year he married and was drafted into the U.S. Army. A broken leg from a fall from a horse upended his deployment to Korea and he was stationed in Germany for two years. Upon his discharge he took advantage of the G.I. bill to reenroll at Michigan State College, this time obtaining a degree in Mechanical Engineering. While in college he was president of the student chapter of the Society of Automobile Engineers, now SAE International.
Neil began his professional career as an automotive engineer for Chrysler Corporation in Detroit. In 1959 he obtained an M.S. in Automotive Engineering at the Chrysler Institute of Engineering. Neil was interested in all aspects of small engine design. He went on to work on Scott Outboard Motors in Minnesota and Rupp Industries in Ohio. For twenty years Neil worked as a design engineer at Mercury Marine in both Fond du Lac and Oshkosh, a job he thoroughly enjoyed. While working for Mercury Marine he was able to travel the world to explore developing markets for small outboard motors. While traveling he indulged his artistic pursuit of photography. A respected amateur photographer, Neil won numerous awards for photography and exhibited at local museums.
In 1972, Neil and his wife moved to their farm west of Omro so Ellen could keep horses. After Neil’s first retirement in 1990, Ellen asked him if he could do something about the horseflies bothering her horses. Always the inventor, with 31 U.S. patents, Neil created the ecologically friendly Horse Pal Fly Trap. Neil sold his flytrap on six continents and his business continues to have sales worldwide.
Neil was preceded in death by his wife, Ellen Mae Newman, and his older sister, Lois (Richard) Schwartz.
He is survived by his two younger brothers, Bruce (Stephany) Newman, Macomb, Illinois and Dale Newman, Ann Arbor, Michigan; his daughter Charlotte Newman, Oak Park, Illinois; and his sons Craig (Paula Srite) Newman, Madison, Wisconsin and Glenn (Erika Dillon) Newman, Barrington Hills, Illinois.
A memorial service will follow at a later date. Mueller Funeral Home-Winneconne is assisting the family. The family has asked that contributions in honor of Neil be made to the Omro Area Scholarship and Education Foundation.
If you wish please submit online condolences to muellerfh.net.