Neil L. Croften Richland Neil L. Croften, 65 of Richland, Michigan died in the comfort of his home and with his family at his side on Saturday, October 15, 2016, after a courageous battle with liver disease and a variety of long-term illnesses. Neil Loyd Croften was born on October 8, 1951, to John and Joyce (Dreamer) Croften in Marshall, Michigan. Neil graduated from Battle Creek Central High School in 1969 and received an Associated Degree from KCC. Neil worked briefly for Clark Equipment Company and then went on to work for General Motors. He worked at GM for 31 years, retiring as a machinist/die maker in 2004. Neil met the love of his life Diane V. Steinbacher. They shared the same birthday one year apart. On June 2, 1972, Neil and Diane were married at St. Philip Catholic Church in Battle Creek. He became a devout Catholic and said his FAITH was the best gift he ever received. They are members of St. Ann Roman Catholic Parish located at 12648 East D Avenue, Augusta, MI 49012; and Neil was a 3rd degree Knight of Columbus. Neil loved the outdoors, and enjoyed fishing, hiking and working in the yard. He adored his grandchildren and would do anything for them to make them happy. In January 2016, he began having serious health problems. Diane loved making sure that every day was happy for Neil. Their motto was, "When you put God first in your marriage, it will withstand everything". Surviving in addition to his wife Diane; are two daughters, Sarah (Matt) Valentine of Madison, CT; Christie (Jamie) Blair of Richland; four grandchildren, Nicholas and Natalie Valentine and Cole and Orrianna Blair; sisters, Cindy (Harry) Illingsworth of Florida, Robin (Robert) Brewer of Athens, MI; Patricia Warren of Battle Creek. Kathie (Chip) Robeson of Virginia; half brother, Jack Crofton of Battle Creek; stepmother, Phyllis Croften of Battle Creek; stepfather, Art (Donna) Ruthruff of Battle Creek. Neil was preceded in death by his mother, Joyce Ruthruff and father, John Croften. Friends will be received 4:00-7:00 p.m. Friday at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care in Battle Creek, where the Rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Fr. Kenneth W. Schmidt at St. Ann Catholic Church 1:30 p.m. Saturday, October 22, 2016. Committal and interment will follow at Prairie Home Cemetery in Richland. Memorial contributions may be made to Shriner's Hospital for Children, 2211 North Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60707 or St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1942. Personal messages for Neil's family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com .
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