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Barbara J. Neller

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1 of 16 | Posted by: mark stuart - battle ceek, MI

“Barb was a quality lady who when you met with her always made you know she was glad to see you. Her positive attitude affected all those who were...Read More »
2 of 16 | Posted by: mark stuart - battle creek, MI

“May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. ”
3 of 16 | Posted by: A friend

“Barb was a quality lady who, when you met with her made you feel special, always glad to see you. Her positive attitude always affected those in the...Read More »
4 of 16 | Posted by: mark stuart - battle creek, MI

“Barbara was a truly quality lady. One of her many qualities was her ability to make you feel that it was special for her to see you. Her positive...Read More »
5 of 16 | Posted by: mark stuart - battle crek, MI


6 of 16 | Posted by: mark stuartbattle creek - MI

“Mrs. Neller was as beautiful lady ... inside and out. I especially loved all the times I got to see her when she visited Kristen in DC. Lots of...Read More »
7 of 16 | Posted by: Karen Gruebnau - Bethesda, MD

“To Barb's family and especially to Kim, I was so sorry to hear of her passing. Please accept my deepest sympathy. May God grant you peace knowing...Read More »
8 of 16 | Posted by: Kathy Engle - Ceresco, NE

“Thinking of you all and fondly remembering how fun it was to watch Barb play the drums in the Post Community band. ❤ ”
9 of 16 | Posted by: Mei Li Cline - Campbell, CA

“I remember the first time Kristen told me her mom played the drums. I thought, "WOW, what a cool lady". Although I only met your mom a couple...Read More »
10 of 16 | Posted by: Heather Francis - Cedar Hills, UT

“Dear Scott and Kim, Going back some 55+ years when we played together at your Grandparents' (Dorothy and Marsh Coulter) house in Tecumseh, during...Read More »
11 of 16 | Posted by: Diane (Mannino) Noack - Tecumseh, MI

“The Homer School Band class of 1962 remembers Barbara (Butterfield) Neller very fondly and I personally can still invision her body and drum sticks...Read More »
12 of 16 | Posted by: Bonnie (Ingraham) Fogel - MI

“I have the most remembrances of Barbara. For several years after she took over as band director in Homer, I was an assistant director, under her...Read More »
13 of 16 | Posted by: Grant Hammond - Oakdale, CT

“It saddens me to read of the passing of Barb. It seems that she was a part of my life for a long time. As a small child I remember dropping my older...Read More »
14 of 16 | Posted by: Doreen Crespo - Battle Creek, MI

“I am so sorry for your loss. Barb was a great friend for many years.We golfed, bowled, partied and attended band concerts togetheroften. Our ...Read More »
15 of 16 | Posted by: Marion Thomasma - Marshall, MI

“My heart is sending sympathies to the family. Barb was a wonderful, kind friend/client for so many years. I will miss & never forget her wonderful...Read More »
16 of 16 | Posted by: Pamela Wetzel - KALAMAZOO, MI


Music Emblem

Barbara Joan Neller passed away on Monday, March 26, 2018 at the Glen Arbor Hospice Residence. Barbara was born on April 28, 1929 to Marshall and Dorothy Coulter in Detroit, Michigan. She attended Grosse Pointe High School and graduated with a degree in Music from Albion College in 1951. She continued her post graduate studies at the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University. Barbara started to play drums at an early age, and by the time she was in high school, was playing her drum set in numerous jazz and dance bands. She continued playing "gigs" throughout college which helped to pay her way. After graduation, Barb was hired as a band director, first at Litchfield and then at Homer school districts. There she took her bands to perform at U of M Band Days, Lions games, and the Michigan State Fair. Barbara was married for ten years to John Butterfield in Homer, and then for twenty-five years to Judge F. Jack Neller in Battle Creek.

After moving to Battle Creek, Barb taught private percussion lessons for years, and you could see her in the back of the following bands, twirling her sticks for the audience: the BC Symphony, BC Union Band, Uncle Sam's Band, KCC Concert Band, Post Band, Marshall Community Band, Battle Creek Winds, and Cereal City Band. She was the drummer for the New Superior Jazz Band from 1985 and played Dixieland jazz music with them until 2011 at venues throughout Battle Creek, including Snickers, the Waterfront and Bay View Gardens. As Barb recently said, "Put some drumsticks in my casket 'cause I don't want to miss a jam session in heaven . . . "

Barbara had many special talents and hobbies over the years. Besides her music, she was a golfer and bowler, and loved gardening. She also collected toy drums and vintage windup toys. She was a huge University of Michigan Football fan and was a season ticket holder for decades.

Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, brother, Marshall G. Coulter II, Husband, F. Jack Neller, and fiancé, Clarence "Roy" Crane. She is survived by sons, Scott Butterfield (Debra) of Lake Orion MI, Jack Neller (Linda) of Bloomfield MI; daughters Kristen Verderame of Mclean VA, and Kim Coleman (Jerry) of Battle Creek MI; and a stepson, Doug Neller, of Altamont IL. She also had 10 grandchildren: Zane Butterfield, Ann Miller, Crysta Davis, Laurie Hoffman, Miles Butterfield, Lindsay Butterfield, Bennett Verderame and Amy Verderame and three step-grandsons, Andrew Neller, Matthew Neller and Robert Neller. She also leaves behind 10 great grandchildren.

Visitation will be Monday, April 2, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care. A memorial service to celebrate Barbara's life will be 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 3rd at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, officiated by Rev. Brian Coleman, Rector. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery. Those wishing to make memorial contributions are asked to consider the Humane Society of SW Michigan or the Tuned-in Inc. (to provide drum scholarships for students) at www.keithhallmusic.com. Personal messages for the family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.