Maurice Neil Royer
Maurice Neil Royer
WINNEBAGO — Maurice Neil Royer, age 97, of Winnebago, passed away peacefully Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Home in Blue Earth, Minn. His memorial service was postponed due to the fact that he had donated his body for science research and due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It has now been scheduled for an immediate family-only private service to be held Sept. 12, 2020, with Pastor Russ Jacobsen officiating.
Spencer-Owen Funeral Home in Winnebago is assisting the family with arrangements. The service can be viewed by the public on the funeral home’s website, www.spencerowen.com beginning at 1 p.m. and can also be viewed following the service on the website. Burial will be in Rosehill Cemetery, Winnebago.
Neil, as he was known by family and friends, was born to Maurice and Lydia (Jones) Royer at his childhood home in rural Lynd County near Balaton, Minn., on March 18, 1922. He was the oldest of six children and was the last of the siblings to pass away.
Neil graduated from Balaton High School in 1940 and worked in the area before heading to California to work at the North American Aviation Plant. His high school sweetheart, Berniece Toft, joined him in California after graduation and her 18th birthday. They were married in Salome, Ariz., on Aug. 2, 1942, because at that time Neil was only 20 and was too young to get married in California. Neil and Berniece shared 69 years of love and commitment, as well as working side by side for many years.
Neil proceeded to enlist into the U.S. Navy in 1944 and was in operational training for PBY-5 airplanes, where he then received his aviation wings. He was discharged from the Navy after World War II in 1946.
Neil received an award in 2017 at the age of 95 for 70 years of membership in the American Legion.
Neil and Berniece returned to Balaton after the war, where he worked various jobs. He decided to move his family to Winnebago in 1947, where he and his father-in-law, John Toft, worked in a family grocery store until Neil started to work for Don Lindgren Plumbing & Heating. He eventually ventured out on his own to start his own plumbing business in his garage in 1955. He opened up a shop on Main Street in 1976 and formed Royers Inc., which included three of his sons working alongside him in the business. He finally retired when he emptied out his desk at the age of 86.
Neil was a very creative and talented man. One of his hobbies was restoration of antique vehicles and engines. He was one of the original organizers of the Winnebago MotoFest, where he proudly displayed his five antique vehicles. His children, grandkids and great-grandkids enjoyed riding and driving these vehicles in parades and around town.
Neil was also honored as a member of the Winnebago Hall of Fame in 1994.
At the age of 75, he decided to add an airplane to his collection of vehicles and built a Pietenpol Airplane, which he finished but it has yet to take flight. That still may be a possibility in the future.
Neil wanted to leave something special for his family, so he wrote a book of his life that was entitled, “As I Remember,” which included 68 pages along with photos and covered his birth until 2008. What a special book of memories and sometimes comical “facts” of his 97 years of life.
Neil was preceded in death by his parents, Maurice and Lydia Royer; his wife, Berniece Royer; brothers, Bill (Laura), Lewis (Dorothy); and sisters, Marilyn (Howard) Stewart, Joyce (Ted) Lynch and Margaret Weaver.
He is survived by his son, Neil (Jackie) of Trimont, Minn., and their children, Justin (Amanda) and Kelly (Joel) Schrotberger; son, Bruce (Mary Beth) of North Mankato, and their children Matt (Shannon), Phil (Vanessa) and Luke (Jenna); son, Dick (Mavis) of Winnebago, and their children April and Nick; and son Jeff of Winnebago; 12 great-grandchildren, Julianna, Olivia, Hannah, Sean, Elle, Andre, Olivia, Valentina, Sabinna, Elyse, Louisa and Clara.
This is just a condensed remembrance of a life well lived by a man of faith, compassion, integrity and “all heart” who will be dearly missed by his family, friends and the Winnebago Community. Times like these bring a flood of memories of so many times shared. We feel afresh of the lasting impact of a father’s legacy.
In lieu of flowers or plants, the family would prefer memorials be given to the St. Luke’s Lutheran Home, Hospice and Friendship Court of Blue Earth and the Winnebago Museum.
God bless the memory of Neil Royer.