Douglas Vachel McNeel, 66, died in San Antonio on Friday, October 5, 2018, after a valiant, 7-month fight with melanoma. He and his family made their home at his family’s Gallagher Ranch near Helotes, which was his source of inspiration for loving Nature, songwriting, entertaining friends, and reflection. A self-described “Lawyer by day, Songwriter by night”, only begins to describe Doug’s wide-range of interests: books, the Arts, property maintenance, rancher, teacher, marathon runner, husband, father, and grandfather.
Born in San Antonio to William Daniel McNeel and Amy McNutt McNeel, Doug attended the San Antonio Academy and graduated from Alamo Heights High School in 1970. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Washington and Lee University in 1974 and 1978. He practiced law in San Antonio for a number of years before taking a leave to study at Austin Theological Seminary. He taught Old Testament and New Testament at Texas Military Institute before returning to practice commercial real estate law as a partner at Barton, East, and Caldwell. He retired in 2017.
A member of San Antonio’s First Presbyterian Church for 40 years, Doug served as a deacon, elder, and adult Sunday School teacher. He was a believer in the healing power of prayer and was a supporter of Christ Healing Center. Among the many ways he practiced his faith in the community were outreach programs such as Servant Partners, Youth for Christ, and Haven for Hope where he took a personal interest in the lives of its graduates. He was a founder of the Hill Country Institute, which grew from conferences centering around C. S. Lewis’s writings to broader applications of faith and culture.
As a lifelong songwriter and guitarist, Doug expressed his unshakeable faith and moral convictions through his winsome, Texas-style Americana music. His Band, Doug McNeel and the Sons of Maverick, was named for one of Doug’s Texas ancestors, Samuel Augustus Maverick, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The group recorded an album, “The Great Awakening”, in 2009. Until Doug’s illness the band performed at cafés, fund-raisers, and charities. A second album is in process.
Doug is survived by his wife of 42 years, Judith, a son, Lewis (Bekah), their two children, Moira and Asa; a daughter, Suzanne Wadsworth (Scooter), and their daughter, Luna; sister, Neel Scott (Bob), and their three daughters; and many beloved cousins and friends.