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Memorial Service

Westminster Presbyterian Church
Saturday March 19th, 2022

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Alven "Bill" Neff

Alven "Bill" Neff of Portage, MI passed away on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at the age of 98. Alven "Bill" W. Neff was born on September 13, 1923, to Leonard and Margaret Neff at Home Hospital in Lafayette, Indiana. At a young age his family moved to Concordia, Kansas, and later to Washington, Kansas, where he grew up. He became an Eagle Scout. Bill served in the army for three years during World War II under General Patton. On June 12, 1948, he married Helen Louise Hammond—the beginning of a 73-year marriage. They had four children. He received a Master’s Degree from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Purdue. Early in his marriage he was a Boy Scout leader. Bill and Helen were charter members of Westminster Presbyterian Church where he served as both an elder and a deacon. As a woodworker, he applied his skills many times to the needs of the church. Bill was an employee of UpJohn’s for 32 years, working in the Agricultural Division. He and Helen hosted as “parents” for four exchange students, 2 from Sweden, 1 from France, and 1 from Japan. Among his community activities, he taught 4-H woodworking, and volunteered for Loaves and Fishes and Habitat for Humanity. He was also part of Southwest Michigan Woodturners. Bill is survived by his wife Helen; his children Janis (and Phil Castrogiovanni) from Penfield, NY, Lisa (and Jack Lynch) from Ypsilanti, MI, Dan (and Beth Campbell) Neff from Moline, IL, Doug (and Kris VanLent) Neff from Mt. Juliet, TN; his sister Ruth Smethers; and his brother John (and Lorraine) Neff, and nine grandchildren; John Lynch, Eric Lynch, Laura Lynch, Robert Lynch, Patrick Lynch, David Neff, Katherine (Neff) Gibson, Tracy (VanLent) Contreras, and Eric VanLent as well as fifteen great grandchildren. 

Memorial service will be held March 19, 2022 at 2:00 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church. 1515 Helen Ave., Portage, MI 49002. Masks will be required.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity, 1126 Gull Rd., Ste. B, Kalamazoo, MI 49048 or to Loaves and Fishes, 901 Portage St., Kalamazoo, MI 49001.

While at www.amsfuneralhomes.com please take time to sign Bill's guestbook and/or share a memory with his family.

The Neff family is being cared for by the Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes and Cremation Society, 129 S. Grand, Schoolcraft, MI 49087. (269)679-5622.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alven Neff, please visit our flower store.


We are saddened by Bill's passing He was a very special person. With heartfelt sympathy, Tina and Bill Gray

Bill Gray Mar 22 2022 7:53 PM

As a member of the Western Michigan Woodturners Guild I appreciate all that Bill did to support and promote woodturning and to pave the way for those like me who are deeply involved. He will be missed.

Jay Penfil Feb 2 2022 3:07 PM

Without doubt the best decision I ever made was to say "I do." And Bill, even though "death did us part", I will love you forever. Helen

Helen Neff Jan 31 2022 10:09 AM

Bill was good at doing jigsaw puzzles. When I visited Helen and Bill he showed me his puzzle and shared one with me. He was very generous. I loved to visit them.
Susan Weng

Susan Weng Jan 26 2022 5:30 PM

I'm blessed to have three of Bill's wood turning projects. Smooth wood is one of my favorite things. I'm also remembering how Bill taught me to propagate pachysandra, and gave me starts which eventually covered an entire bank. And I love his beard! Skysinger

Barbara L. Gerber Jan 26 2022 5:07 PM

Special people, special memories. With love,

Marlin Gerber Jan 26 2022 2:58 PM

Loving thoughts to Helen from a Colingsworth. Ellen

Ellen Colingsworth Jan 26 2022 2:52 PM

Uncle Bill was a remarkable person: loving father and husband, devout Presbyterian, research chemist at Upjohn pharmaceuticals, bonsai tree grower, gardener, designer and turner of remarkable wooden bowls, and extensive traveler with Aunt Helen. He was a kind, tactful, and quiet man with a great sense of humor. We will honor him by trying to be as good a person as he was. We love you so much, Aunt Helen. You are every bit as wonderful. No wonder you stayed together for so long!

Linda Keener Jan 25 2022 6:14 PM

I will always miss my brother - John

John Neff Jan 24 2022 9:26 AM

Dr. Neff, we will remember all the memories, love, kind advise you gave us and our dad Prem. Thank you from all the Jaglan family. God bless your soul, give strength to bear the loss of a great man. Alven Bill Neff. We will all miss you! Peace, Love & Happiness

vikramjit s jaglan Jan 23 2022 1:58 PM

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