Shirley was born on March 20, 1931, in Somerville, MA; she was the cherished daughter of the late Oscar Christian and Mary Elizabeth (Agnew) Sorenson. Shirley was raised and educated in Somerville and a graduate of Somerville High School.
Shirley married young to her “sweetheart” Donald McNeill, the couple lived in Winchester for 18 years where they started their family and raised their children before moving to Tewksbury over 45 years ago. Shirley cherished her role as a wife, mom, and nana; she loved her family unconditionally and would do anything for them. Shirley was known to have the patience of a saint but she could also be stern when it was needed especially when raising her children. Shirley was also an important part of helping to raise her grandchildren, she was their “second mother” and a loving caregiver; she truly enjoyed every moment spent with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Shirley took pride in her home, she loved to garden, and she always had an “open door policy” for not only her family and friends but also for all the stray animals that they brought along with them. Shirley had a special place in her heart for animals and generously gave to several animal charities.
Before losing her eyesight, Shirley loved to read; she had a thirst for knowledge and was always on top of all current events. Shirley was definitely a “go to” person when you need information on a particular topic; she was very intelligent and would research anything she was asked to.
Shirley also had a talent for crocheting; she shared her pieces with her family and friends and also made countless blankets, sweaters, and hats, for the Hope House in Lawrence; she was just always dedicating her time and talents to others.
Shirley will be fondly remembered as the most kind, warm, generous, giving, and humble lady that anyone could meet. Shirley’s love and devotion to family, friends, and strangers was evident in everything she did; Shirley never turned anyone away and was always willing to help anyone in need. Shirley was truly “one of a kind” and will forever be missed by all.
Shirley was the beloved wife of 65 years to the late Donald McNeill, devoted mother of Zane McNeill & and his partner Lori Muncy, Enge Murray & her husband John, Claire Babineau & her husband Thomas all of Tewksbury, the late Donald W. McNeill USMC, and Frank O. McNeill, loving “Nana” of Monique Horsman & her husband Paul, Camille McNeill & her partner Brian Mekdeci, Marlene McNeill & her partner Mike O’Connell, Duran McNeill & his fiancé Sheila Mouleart, Christian Murray and his partner Jaymie Guiffre, Frank O. Murray and her cherished grandson the late Carl Giannelli, “Nana Shirley” of her great-grandchildren Kaylee, Nathan, and Ryan Horsman, Giovanni Giannelli and his mother Alisa Legerstrom, Bo Mekdeci and Roysin O’Connell, cherished daughter of the late Oscar Christian and Mary Elizabeth (Agnew) Sorenson, dear sister of the late Roy Sorenson and Oscar Christian “Junie” Sorenson, Jr. Shirley is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will gather at the Abundant Life Christian Center, 173 Church St. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Saturday, February 27th for Visitation from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Immediately followed by a Funeral Service at 11:30 a.m. Interment will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Winchester. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Perkins School for the Blind, In Memory of Shirley McNeill, 175 North Beacon St., Watertown, MA 02472. Arrangements under the direction of the Nichols Funeral Home, Wilmington.