Neil James Fruit died peacefully at his home on Thursday, April 20th in Menomonie, WI at the age of 86.
Neil was born on March 5, 1937 in Colfax, Dunn County, WI to Lester & Gladys (House) Fruit. He married Joanne Joyce Hight on February 1, 1958 and they had three children together: Kim Fruit, Neil Fruit II & Jolanda Johnson. Neil grew up in Rusk and worked for Neil and Helen Govin on their farm through his teenage years. He graduated from Menomonie High School in 1956. He worked at Hedlund Manufacturing in Boyceville and eventually owned the milk route that served the Village of Boyceville until moving to Hudson in 1966. Neil was a proud Ford mechanic for many years in Hudson and Stillwater. He opened his own mechanic repair shop called Henry’s Classics after moving back to Boyceville in 1978. To Neil, any vehicle that wasn’t a Ford was a “foreign” vehicle. He drove school bus for Boyceville Schools for many years prior to his retirement in 1998.
Neil is survived by his loving wife after 65 years of marriage, Joanne; children, Kim (Karen) Fruit, Neil (Kathy) Fruit II, and Jolanda (Tony) Johnson; grandchildren, Neil (Faith) Fruit III, Christopher (Heather) Fruit, Jonathan Fruit, Kevin (Chloe) Fruit, Stephen (Lucy) Fruit; great-grandchildren, Callianne, Richard, Emma, Claire, Abigail, Kingsley, Daxton, Brooklyn, Asa, Archie, Xion, and brother-in-law Lyle Hight Jr.
He was preceded in death by his parents Lester & Gladys Fruit, grandson Ryan Fruit, and in-laws Lyle and Agnes Hight Sr.
Neil loved his family and friends and would offer to help anyone that needed it. He and Joanne spent many years together on their farm north of Boyceville, and those 80 acres meant the world to him. He enjoyed building scale models and was very meticulous in their assembly. He served his community as a volunteer firefighter and as President of the Boyceville Methodist Church board. As early members of the Menomonie Boat & Ski Club, Neil & Joanne enjoyed camping, boating, and water skiing. Neil’s Christian faith was an essential part of his life. He and Joanne lived by the example that Jesus Christ taught us. We will see him again in heaven.
A private memorial will be held in the near future. Special thanks to the providers at Mayo Health System for their care over the years.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to Immanuel Baptist Church in Menomonie, WI or a charity of your choosing.