Obit: Cora Lee “Dootsie” Baker McNeely

July 11, 1940 – December 15, 2021

The night sky shines a little brighter now as Mrs. Cora Lee McNeely’s star has joined the heavens to shine down on us. Our warm and loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend, passed from this life after an extended illness to her heavenly rewards on December 15, 2021.

Know all her life to her family and friends as Dootsie, she was born on July 11, 1940, to Col. Thomas A. Barker and Cora Lee Hill. She graduated from St. Mary’s High School, attended Northwestern State College, and began her working career at the Natchitoches Trade School. She married Gerald D. Deville and began her family in the early ‘60’s. She soon began a 26-year career with Peoples Bank & Trust Company, rising to the position of Executive Secretary before the bank changed ownership. She then embarked upon a new position as Administrative Assistant, with the NSU Alumni Association, followed by closing her career with the Department of Journalism upon her retirement in 2007.

An eighth generation descendent from on of the areas earliest pioneer families, Dootsie was a friend to one and all, never meeting a stranger. She enjoyed dancing, cross stitchery, and working in her flower beds. She loved interacting with bank customers, co-workers, and later with NSU students, colleagues, and alumni, but most of all, she loved her large and extended family.

Dootsie was preceded in death by her parents and older brother, Thomas A. Baker, Jr.

She is survived by her husband of forty-one years, LTC Charles L. “Sandy” McNeely; children, Donna Fitzgerald (David) of Niles, MI; Denise Deville, and Dennis Deville both of Natchitoches, and David Deville (Connie) of Lafayette, LA; grandchildren, Christopher Deville, Cynthia Deville, Hayley Hug all of Lafayette, LA; great-granddaughter, Mavyn Atkinson; sisters, Marietta Lee (Lester) of Baton Rouge and Anne Breda of Houston; sister-in-law, Ellen Baker of Shreveport; and brother-in-law, Ludlow N. McNeely of Natchitoches; along with numerous nephews and nieces.

Visitation will be held from 5 pm – 7 pm on Monday, December 20, 2021 at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday December 21st at 10:00 am at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, followed by interment at the American Cemetery. Honored to serve as pallbearers are Dr. Steve Horton, Tommy Joe Sibley, Ludlow McNeely, III, Roger Williams, Austin McNeely, and Christopher Deville.

The family would like to thank the following for their care and devotion to our loved one: Dr. Robert Massengill and the nurses and staff of Highland Cancer Center, Dr. Mohammed Shebeeb, Dr. Michelle Mayeau, Dr. Stephen Wheat, and the nurses and staff at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and the Courtyard of Natchitoches.