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Wife Fondly Recalls Husband Taken By Mesothelioma.

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Duane Leslie McNeill was sixty-one years old when he was diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma in January of 1999. A father, husband and soulmate, he died just two months later, four days shy of celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary. He met his future wife Ruby when they were 12 years old and knew at the tender age of 15 that he would marry her. Duane and Ruby raised two sons.

After serving his country in the United States Navy, Mr. McNeill worked as a supervisor in several foundries in California and Washington state until he became sick.

Below is a letter I received from his wife, Ruby:

Dear Mr. Worthington,

I hope you understand my need to tell you about Duane. He is gone but will never be forgotten. He had a face and a voice and, although no longer here, should still be seen and heard.

Duane was very quiet but those who knew him well knew what a wonderful sense of humor he had. For me, when he died the fun died with him. He could make me laugh so hard and often. He was so patient with me and gave me such a feeling of security. There was just nothing he couldn't do. I once told him that I thought I should get AAA coverage, as some of my girlfriends had it, and he told me he was my AAA. Needless to say, I now have to buy the AAA coverage and the benefits aren't nearly what I had through his personal coverage.

Something that I don't tell many people is that during the two months that we knew he was dying, he would take my hand and tell me how much he loved me. That he never really understood the depth until we were going through this together - and that's what we did - we went through this together. The night he died, our sons and I were with him and he was conscious all the time. The nurse had been at the house and told us that it was just a matter of hours. At the last, he looked around at all of us and found me and winked and just died. I said to my son, Rick - "did you see that?" and he said "Yes, he looked right at you and winked." What a wonderful gift that was and how often I relive it.

I moved back to Spokane as soon as possible after his death - he knew that's what I would do. Wherever I go, I see Duane. The lights he installed in my friend's home, the stairs he fixed for my aunt. He just did everything for everyone. Every home we lived in was improved on. It is difficult for me to now have to depend on everyone for everything.

I would love to be able to tell them what it means to have someone be a part of your life since you were 12 or 13 and what it means when they are no longer there. He told me that when he was 15 he told his friends that he was going to marry me. We had not even gone out together by then.

I told Duane (while he was dying) that it wasn't fair - we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and only he got to.

Thank you so much for trying to make these defendants be accountable in the only way available to us. I would give anything to not be going through this. Learning to say "I/Me/My/Widow" instead of "We/Us/Our/Wife/Husband" is very disturbing to me. Not a good thing!!!

Ruby Simonson McNeill

McNeill family

P.S. Our oldest son, Dane, proposed to Lori during Duane's two month dying time. The night Duane died (Duane was aware of what was to happen), I had Dane take Duane's ring off Duane's finger. Dane had me give Lori the ring to put on Dane's hand during their wedding September 18, 1999 (6 months after Duane's death). There was a Memorial Candle lit during the ceremony and it stayed lit during the reception. A picture was taken of me with both our boys and the candle. Our youngest (Rick) is in the middle, Dane (the groom) is on the right. During the ceremony they mentioned that Duane was there in spirit and that all were invited to visit the Memorial Candle during the reception.

*** POSTED JUNE 26, 2000 ***