Neva Oneal Thornhill died on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, with her family nearby.

She was born Neva D Oneal in Bogard, Mo., to Elmer and Emma (Bunney) Oneal, the last of three children. When she was toddler, the family bought a farm in Carrollton, Mo., which is still in existence today.

Neva D (this how she was addressed by family and friends) grew up on the farm with her siblings. She attended the Vanhorn Methodist Church with her parents and was a member of the 4-H club. She attended classes in one-room school houses during her elementary school years and later went on to Carrollton High School. After high school, she attended Research Hospital School of Nursing in Kansas City, Mo., Baylor University in Texas, the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and Mercy College, N.Y., where she received a bachelor’s degree.

She had a long career in nursing, beginning at Research Hospital in Kansas City and Leavenworth Veterans Administration Hospital in Leavenworth, Kan. In 1955 she entered the United States Air Force Nursing Corps where she was commissioned as a first lieutenant. After basic military training she enrolled in the Air Force Flight Nursing School and graduated as a flight nurse. Her duty stations included Air Force bases in Alabama, Texas, Alaska and Missouri. Neva enjoyed her time in the Air Force and her duties as a flight nurse transporting injured and sick military personnel from various outposts to major hospitals. She always had a desire to fly. Later she worked in VA hospitals in New York city, eventually retiring after 33 years.

She married Melvin Douglas Thornhill in June 1960. They had two children, Denice Marcell Thornhill and Melvyn Douglas Thornhill 2nd. During their 56 years of marriage they were inseparable and lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Vineyard Haven. After retirement Neva traveled widely with her family, including back to Alaska. She was a loving wife, mother and friend. her dry sense of humor will be missed by many.

She had an active religious life, beginning as a Methodist in Missouri. Following her marriage, she joined the Baptist church. For the remainder of her life was active in church affairs in New York and on the Vineyard where she was a member of the First Baptist Church of Vineyard Haven.

She is survived by her husband Melvin, daughter Denice, son Melvin, daughter in law Phyllis and a host of relatives and friends.

Neva donated her body to Tufts University School of Medical Sciences in Boston.

A celebration of life service will take place in April at the First Baptist Church in Bronxville, N.Y. Interment will be on the Island with a service and burial with military honors.

Donations may be made in her name to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1748; The First Baptist Church of Vineyard Haven, P.O. Box 806; The American Legion Post 257, P.O. Box 257, all in Vineyard Haven, MA 02568; or the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557; or the Gay Head Community Baptist Church, P.O. Box 806, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or the VNA of Cape Cod and the Islands, 255 Independence Drive, Hyannis, MA. 02601.