Genevieve (Genny) McNeil, graduate assistant at the School of Information Management and Systems, died Dec. 13.
Born in 1941 in Martinsville, Va., she moved to Washington, D.C., in 1960 after finishing high school. There she attended business college, met and married H. Leroy McNeil and, in 1965, had her son, Stuart.
That same year the family relocated to Berkeley, where in 1969 McNeil got a job at the university at the School of Library and Information Studies (now SIMS).
In her nearly 30 years with the school, McNeil developed a wealth of knowledge regarding its history and the admissions process for entering its program. From 1969 to 1997, she reviewed and processed more than 2,800 graduate admissions applications. McNeil also maintained strong working relationships with Graduate Division staff members, which made her a valuable liaison between the two entities.
Professor Bob Berring first met McNeil when he was a student in the school. "Genny endured a procession of deans," he says, "the renovation of the building, the transformation of the school and anything else that life or the university could throw her way. Always ready to laugh, always willing to help, she was the best that Berkeley had to offer."
"When I arrived at South Hall," recalls coworker Lucy Montanez, "it was my first time working in an academic setting and for a school dean. Genny was there to answer my questions....If I was stressed out about deadlines, she would say 'Sugar, the work will be here waiting for you tomorrow.' Genny had that calming effect on people."
A longtime active member of the Multi-Chapter Top Notchers Philanthropic Organization, McNeil was known as the glue that held the group together and was a recipient of the coveted Top Notcher Award. She also participated in the Bay Area S.H.A.R.E. food distribution program, where she touched the lives of numerous senior citizens.
McNeil is survived by her son, Stuart S. McNeil; sisters Josephine Flowers of New Rochelle, N.Y., Hazel S. Smith of Martinsville, Va., and Rebecca S. Lipscomb of Queens, N.Y.; her son's grandmother, Myrtle Bishop; her aunt, Genevieve Meikle, of New Rochelle, N.Y.; her uncle, John T. Dodson, of Saxe, Va.; niece Mary (Alice) Johnson, of San Pablo, as well as many nephews, nieces, cousins and friends. Preceding her in death were her loving companion of 25 years, Virgil Robins; a sister, Barbara A. Barrow; and a brother, Donald W. Draper.
A funeral was held Dec. 19 in Richmond. In memory of McNeil, who for the last seven years was a leader of the Health*Matters Walking Group, the Jan. 26 noon-hour walk will be held in her honor. The walk starts at 12:10 p.m. at the Campanile. All members of the campus community are invited to attend.