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WAYNESVILLE — The Rev. William Whitfield McNeill passed away on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, at the age of 91.

He was born on June 17, 1927 in McCormick County, South Carolina. He was the son of the late William Robert and Maude Elizabeth Deason McNeill. He was also preceded in death by his wife, Novella Woodard McNeill who died in 2008; and a sister, Betty Ann Sells.

Rev. McNeill was a graduate of McCormick High School and proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy.

Following service, he attended Spartanburg Junior College transferring to Wofford College. Upon graduation he enrolled at Emory University, Candler School of Theology where he received his Masters of Divinity. His senior year at Candler School of Theology, he was appointed to Harris Methodist Church in Greenwood, South Carolina.

From there he served appointments at Hibben Methodist Church, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina;St. Andrews Methodist Church, Orangeburg, South Carolina; Trinity United Methodist Church, Anderson, South Carolina; Duncan Acres United Methodist Church, Union, South Carolina; North Charleston United Methodist Church, North Charleston, South Carolina and he ended his appointments serving as District Superintendent, Orangeburg, South Carolina.

He and Novella then moved to their home near Lake Junaluska, serving as an associate pastor at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church and volunteering as a chaplain at Silver Bluff Nursing Home.

Rev. McNeill is survived by his three children and six grandchildren and one great grandchild: Lynne McNeill Swafford, and her husband, John Swafford, of Dallas, Texas and their sons, Robert Andrew Montford, and his husband Wayne Montford, of Baltimore, Maryland, John Whitfield “Whit” Swafford and his son Jackson Whitfield Swafford, and William Benjamin Swafford, of Dallas, Texas; Beth McNeill Marks, and her husband, Edward Marks, of Lawrenceville, Georgia and their daughter, Elissa; and William Whitfield McNeill, Jr., and his wife, Teresa Gannon McNeill, of Winchester, Tennessee and their son, Caleb Benjamin McNeill and Joseph Edward McNeill.

He is also survived by his sister, Nita Brazzell Bamburg, South Carolina; and brother-in-law, the Rev. Dr. Edwin L. Sells, of Mobile, Alabama; and many nieces and nephews.

A committal service for Rev. McNeill will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 8, at Garrett-Hillcrest Memorial Park with the Rev. Frank Lybrand officiating. Military honors will be observed.

A memorial service for Reverend McNeill will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Greenville, South Carolina with the Revs. Randy Smith, John Culp, Granville Hicks and Paul Harmon officiating. Visitation will be immediately before the service in the church parlor at 12:45 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest that those wishing to do so may give gifts in memory of Rev. McNeill to the William and Novella McNeill Endowed Scholarship at Spartanburg Methodist College, 1200 Textile Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29303-0009.

The care of Rev. McNeill has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at

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