After a lifetime of taking care of his family and his community, Neal Daniel Colby, Jr. died at home on Thursday, December 27, 2018. Neal was born in Milwaukee, WI on January 7, 1941, the eldest child of Neal Daniel and Mary Charlotte (ne Allen) Colby. He graduated from St. Benedicts College with a degree in History followed by an advanced degree in social welfare from the University of Kansas. Neal served 40 years at Catholic Charities, 25 years as director. His long tenure was notable for its impressive expansion of services and advocacy initiatives to improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable.
Neal touched countless people from his early work facilitating adoptions, counseling troubled youth and helping resettle refugees. Later in his career, as Executive Director of Catholic Charities, he left a legacy of affordable housing for the poor, elderly and disabled. He brought attention to the emerging AIDS crisis, helped initiate the Mayor's Task Force on AIDS and the formation of the AIDS Council. This work led to the establishment of the SAVE home, the first hospice house in Missouri dedicated to serving those with HIV/AIDS. His collaboration with others established the Missouri Adoption and Foster Care Coalition. He was instrumental in pressing for state laws for open adoptions and improved health care for the medically underserved. His pioneering work in home health care created a system that allowed the elderly to age in place with the people and places they loved. The list of his good work could go on but suffice to say he lived his life for others, most of whom he never knew and left the world a better place.
Neal enjoyed sailing, hunting, golf, and coaching his boys in a variety of sports. He was an avid dog lover and dedicated to the care of his immediate and extended family. He was preceded in death by his mother, his sister Charlotte, and this past October by his father who was 103. He is survived by the love of his life, Mary Bernice (Bernie) Colby, his sons Shawn (Alena), Brian (Soodie) and Kevin along with grandchildren Sofia and his namesake, Danny. He is also survived by two sisters, Carol Papin and Joan Williams, and many nieces and nephews. In keeping with Neals wishes, there will be a brief memorial followed by a reception. A Celebration of Neals Life will be held Friday, January 4th at Tighe Hall at Visitation Church, 5141 Main St., from 6 to 8pm. Contributions may be sent to Benedictine College, Atchison, KS.
Celebration of Life Visitation Church
Friday, January 04, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
5141 Main StreetKansas City, Missouri 64113
The Celebration of Life service will be held in Tighe Hall within the church.