A photo of Michael A. McNelis

Michael A. McNelis

Born February 19, 1960

Michael A. McNelis, age 57, of Bear, DE, passed away on Monday, September 25, 2017, after a short illness. He was a beloved husband to Rose and devoted father to Michele and Robert.

A native Delawarean, Michael was born in Wilmington on February 19, 1960, and was the son of the late A. Michael and M. Julliet (Walsh) McNelis. He was a graduate of Newark High School, received his associate degree in therapeutic recreation from Delaware Technical and Community College and his bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Delaware. Michael touched the lives of many students and staff members through his work with the Delaware Autism Program, where he worked for more than thirty years.

Following his retirement, he discovered a love for volunteer work, continuously striving to better his community by delivering meals to seniors through Meals on Wheels and reading to preschool children through Read Aloud. Michael was a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish. An avid self-taught gardener, he cherished his time spent outdoors. He could often be found fishing, hiking, and camping, particularly in the Shenandoah Mountains. Michael also enjoyed reading and playing his banjo, and he befriended every dog he met. He was a good and generous man with a sharp sense of humor.

Michael is survived by wife of over thirty years, Rosemary Tarleton; his children, Michele and Robert McNelis; his sisters, Ann Minner and Patricia McNelis; his nephews, Frank Minner and Kevin McNelis; great nephew, Ryan DuBois; great niece, Hailee Minner; and his dog, Brandy.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Friday evening, September 29, 2017, at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a funeral service will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday morning, September 30, 2017. Interment will follow in All Saints Cemetery, 6001 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, DE.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Michael’s memory may be made to Special Olympics of Delaware, 619 S. College Avenue, Newark, DE 19716.

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11 Condolences for Michael A. McNelis

  • I’m so sorry to learn that Mike has passed.
    I always enjoyed talking to Mike – I found him to be both inquisitive and interesting. Some things I know about Mike: He had a generous spirit and truly exhibited compassion for others. I enjoyed his self-deprecating humor. He was the Alpha to his dog Brandy – it’s harder to see a more true measure of a man’ character than his dog’s loyalty to him. He was passionate about sports, music, volunteering and gardening – such diverse interests! Mike truly loved his family – I can only imagine how deeply you are feeling his loss. My warmest thoughts to Rose, Michelle, Rob and Ann & Patricia… Keeping you in my prayers. I would send flowers – but to fulfill his wishes, I will donate to Special Olympics in his memory!!!

  • I worked with Mike for almost 25 years. During this time we labored hard together at work and also enjoyed attending sporting events together on our days off. I sorely miss his professional advice at work and the fun we had as friends (in both venues work and play). Mike taking up the mantle of volunteer work after his retirement was and is inspirational for me and others. My condolences to Rose and Patty and the entirety of the great McNelis clan. RIP Mike….from Lee, your friend and colleague now and forever

  • Gary and I send loving thoughts to Rose, Michelle and Rob. I only met Mike a few times, but his garden at the house expressed his beautiful spirit. We will hold you in the light.

  • Rose,

    Thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this difficult time.

    Laura Donnelly

  • I will always remember Mike as the cook whenever we came over to his house house. He certainly liked to grill. It is hard to believe that he will no longer be there. He always liked to talk about baseball and the Pirates. I cannot imagine how hard this is on his family. He will be missed. John Climent

  • I’m sorry to hear about your loss and pain and wanted to share the Bible’s hope of a resurrection at John 5:28,29 at a time when there is no more sickness pain or death right here on earth according to Revelation 21:3,4. May the god of comfort give you comfort in this time of bereavement.

  • I’m sorry to hear about your loss and pain and wanted to share the Bible’s hope of a resurrection at John 5:28,29 at a time when there is no more sickness pain or death right here on earth according to Revelation 21:3,4. Please read these scriptures and may the god of comfort give you comfort in this time of bereavement.

  • Please accept the sincere condolences from the staff and volunteers of Read Aloud Delaware. We were very distressed when Mike had to stop reading and so saddened to learn of his death. Mike was a joy to watch when he read to the children at Lil’ Einstein’s Learning Center. They loved his kind and gentle attention and will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  • Just viewed the video remembrance. What great shots of Mike the family man and friend. He will be remembered by so many for his “Heart of Gold” and his sense of humor, among all his other positive traits.

  • We here at Lil’ Einstein’s Learning Academy just received this sad news. We are so sorry to hear of Mr. Mike’s passing. Mr. Mike would come in here each week and bring so much joy to our hallways. The kids absolutely loved Mr. Mike! He was always so kind to everyone walking throughout our halls. The kids really enjoyed what Mr. Mike would bring in his special briefcase. He made sure to spend quality time with as many children as he could during each visit. He would make the pages come to life and brought many smiles to our children here. We will miss Mr. Mike dearly! It’s just not the same not having him here anymore. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time. <3

  • I was deeply saddened to learn of Mike’s passing. His volunteer work as a reader for Read Aloud brought the joy of reading to many young lives. He made a difference to many. Please accept my sincere sympathies on your loss.