Mary Ann McNeil (née Wasilevich), 89, of Eagle River, Wis., formerly of Kenosha, Wis., passed away peacefully at her home on Dec. 16, 2019, surrounded by her loving family.

Born in Kenosha on Nov. 16, 1930, she was the daughter of the late Peter and Anna (Banasic) Wasilevich.

She took the train every day to high school and graduated St. Catherine’s High School in Racine, Class of 1948. She was awarded a scholarship to attend St. Mary’s nursing school in Milwaukee, Wis.

After two years of studies, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent 28 months in a sanitarium on recovery therapy. There, she learned to knit and crochet, and was involved in menu planning for the facility. Her love of reading romance novels initiated there as well.

Once healthy again, she became a bookkeeper and worked in advertising for Connelly Supermarket in Kenosha; later bought by Jewel. It was at Jewel on Washington Road where she met a tall, handsome store manager named Jim McNeil.  They were married on May 29, 1965, at St. Casimir Catholic Church in Kenosha and were blessed with almost 46 years of marriage, until Jim passed away in May 2011.

They had two daughters and established their home in Northbrook, Ill.

In 1977, the family moved to the Northwoods where they had vacationed for years.  Mary Ann and Jim owned and operated the Arrow Gift Shop in downtown Eagle River for 24 years, before their daughter, Katie, took over in 2001. While working at the store, Mary Ann was active in the chamber and the inception of Cranberry Fest in town.

She was named Woman of the Year in 1986.

Mary Ann was an active member of St. Peter the Fisherman Church in Eagle River and a supporter of Relay For Life. As a breast cancer survivor, she and her husband Jim were Honorary Survivors for 2010.

Mary Ann was proud of her Polish and Russian heritage, had a love for gardening, knitting, cooking and spending time with family.  She was an avid bridge player and cherished the friendships of all her partners throughout the years. 

Left to cherish her memory are her two daughters, Eileen (Burt) Wise of Miramar Beach, Fla., and Katie (John) Hayes of Eagle River; six grandchildren, Lidiya (Chase) Wise Spivey, Cody McNeil, and Makayla, Anna, Jack and Meg Hayes; stepgrandson, Todd (Jaime) Wise; her brother, Mike (Terry) Wasilevich; her sisters-in-law, Luigina Wasilevich and Shirley (Pat) Murphy; 18 nieces and nephews; and a host of great- nieces and -nephews, stepgreat-grandchildren and dear friends.

In addition to her parents and husband, E. James “Jim” McNeil, she was preceded in death by her siblings, Max, Peter, Dorothy and John Wasilevich; and in-laws, Jack (Callie) McNeil, Patricia (Jack) Carolan and T.J. McNeil.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at noon, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, at St. Peter the Fisherman Parish in Eagle River. A visitation for Mary Ann will be held on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass at the church. Interment will occur at the St. Peter Cemetery in spring of 2020. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials to Make-A-Wish of Wisconsin, in honor of her granddaughter, Meg Hayes, 11020 W. Plank Court, Suite 200, Wauwatosa, WI 53226 or St. Peter’s, c/o Relay For Life Team, 5001 County Road G, Eagle River, WI 54521 would be appreciated by the family.

The family would like to extend a special thank you for all those who helped care for Mary Ann including Marci McDonald and the hospice staff of Ascension; and her caregiver, Terry.



Arrangements by Gaffney-Busha Funeral Home, Eagle River. Online condolences may be expressed at gaffney-busha.com.

PAID OBITUARY