The Reverend Neil D. Siefert was born in Dunkirk, NY on June 20, 1934, the son of the late Ralph and Inez Cedarquist Siefert.
Reverend Neil Drake Siefert was lifted up in the loving arms of his Lord and Savior to eternal rest on Monday April 10, 2017 in Sugar Grove, PA.
Born in Dunkirk N.Y. Neil and his family moved to Conneaut Lake then to Irvine where he attended school in Pleasant Township. He later moved to Warren and went to school at McClintock, North Warren, East Street and Beaty Junior High before graduating from Warren High School in 1952. He attended Grove City College majoring in Business Administration. He was a member of Nu Lambda Chi Fraternity and Manager for the soccer team. This pleased him as he always had a great love of all sports although he was unable to physically participate because as a child he had asthma which left his lungs weakened.
In 1954 Neil moved to Corry and first worked for Cherry’s Hardware and then for his soon to be fatherinlaw at Paul’s Hardware. In 1955 he married Sally Dickinson in Corry officiated by Rev. Paul Bauer of the First Presbyterian Church. They moved to Warren where he was employed as a bookkeeper at Dan’s Chevrolet. Later he worked at Sylvania until he was inducted into the army January in 1957, and was sent to Fort Knox, KY. He remained at Fort Knox working in the office for his administrative sergeant in G4 of the training center until he was discharged as a Specialist Fourth Class. He then served in the Reserves until January 1963. After the service, Neil returned to Sylvania, but soon went to work for Dan’s Chevrolet in sales. In 1967 he worked at Levinson Brothers in management. Neil returned to his love of selling automobiles in 1969 when he went to work for Kusse Pontiac Cadillac and stayed on when the dealership was sold first to Bob Duel then Swift Pontiac Cadillac, AMC and Jeep where he excelled as a manager and new car salesman. His excellent skill in sales showed through when he was awarded the honor of becoming “Buffalo Zone Salesman of the Year” in 1970 and again in 1971.
Neil was a member and Deacon of the First Presbyterian Church on Market Street until 1971 when he and his family transferred their memberships to Emanuel United Church of Christ, 1710 PA Ave. East. He was elected to be on the Consistory where he was first a Deacon then Elder. He also served as Consistory President. He was very active in the church as well as becoming a founding member and president of the Gideon’s of Warren County. In 1981, at age 48, Neil felt called to go into the Christian ministry and when he was accepted at Bangor Theological Seminary he and his wife, Sally moved to Bangor, ME where he took advantage of a program where one could work on a Masters Degree and finish an undergraduate work at the same time. In 1982 he was featured in an article “Spiritual Quest” in The Wall Street Journal regarding second career people. Neil was President of the Student Government and Hebrew Reader for Professor Dr. Szikszai for two years. As Hebrew Reader he was expected to correct all papers and tutor students. He loved to tell the story that the students often said they learned Hebrew with a Pennsylvania accent. Several nights a week while in college he worked as a delivery person for Miller’s Drug store in Bangor. Neil was the impetus for a new “church start” where the Monson United Church of Christ was built and dedicated in 1984. He was on the Board of Directors of the Maine Conference, and he served as Student Representative to General Synod. Neil graduated from The University of Maine majoring in History with highest honors. In 1981 Neil graduated from Bangor Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree with high honors.
Besides the Monson church he served The Reformed United Church of Christ in Vandergrift; The Apollo UCC in Apollo and St. John’s UCC in Johnstown where he retired on May 31, 1998. The next day, June 1, he became the pastor of Emanuel UCC in Warren, and served the church for 14 years. After his retirement, on September 21, 2014 he was honored by the church when he was voted Pastor Emeritus of the Emanuel UCC. During this time he became the Chaplain of Hospice of Warren County in 1999, and even after he retired from Emanuel he continued to be on the Hospice team.
In 1960 Neil joined the Aurora Blue Lodge #633 in Louisville, KY. He was a member of the Coudersport Scottish Rite Consistory as a 32 Degree Mason and took a demit when he entered Bangor Theological Seminary. He was High Priest of the Occidental Royal Arch Chapter #235 Warren in 1972. It was his pleasure to be the Worthy Patron for his wife, Sally, Worthy Matron of Eastern Star #125 in Apollo 19911992. He was a member in good standing of the Stillwater Lodge #0547 F/& A.M. of Pennsylvania in Youngsville, PA
Neil was a member of The Kinzua Valley Antique Automobile Club and the Antique Club of America. He attended several Ford Automobile Club of America Meets winning several times at car shows first with his 1968 Ford Fairlane 500 in original condition taking third place in 2002 at the Ford Fairlane Club of America at the Carlisle AllFord Nationals and second place later on. Then in 2011 he won first place “Gold” with his original 1974 Ford Gran Torino Elite at the All Ford Fairlane Club Nationals in Springfield, Il. And again in York, PA.
Neil was a member of the Warren Rotary Club and Junior Chamber of Commerce. In Vandergrift, he was an active member of the Kiwanis Club, and in Johnstown an officer in the Lions. He felt good about serving each of these service clubs and the outstanding work they do.
After returning to Warren he became a member of the Board of Directors for the Warren Senior Center, and a member of the Board when the Center changed their name and address to The Allegheny Community Center on Clark Street; Warren County Genealogical Society; Warren Area Ministerial Association. Fraternal Order of Eagles, Conewango Aerie #314; Am Vets Post 50 Sugar Grove. Neil faithfully served as a member and officer on the Board of Directors at St. Paul’s Continuum Care Facilities in Greenville for twenty three years. He also served on the Ethics Committee and the Church Relations committee for 20 years.
He was a past president of the Somerset Association of UCC churches, and a member of the Clarion Association of The United Church of Christ.
On the Conference level he served on the Board of Directors as well as the Executive Board on two separate occasions, and in many other capacities for the Penn West Conference. Although he was officially retired, he continued to serve on the Church and Ministry committee and Chaired the Ethics Committee in the Clarion Association.
He was elected and served on the United Church of Christ Board for World Ministries as a corporate member a total of eight years. He was also elected to represent the Penn West Conference at General Synod on five separate occasions.
Neil is survived by his wife of 61 years Sally Dickinson Siefert. Seven children, Julie Greenman and husband Matt of Sugar Grove, Brad Siefert and wife, Laraine of Bainbridge Island, WA, Scott Siefert of Richmond, VA, and Mary Jane Okruch, and husband Ed of Russell, PA. Grandchildren Melinda Steffler and husband Jim of Almont MI, Kenneth Joshua Loomis and partner Jhey Jomillo of North Miami, FL, Rebekah Beckwith and husband Cory of Busti, NY, Danelle Wilson and husband Shane of Warren, Benjamin Greenman of Japan, Andrew Greenman and wife Ashley of Binghamton, NY, Michael Okruch and wife Angela of Scandia, PA, William Okruch of AZ, Andrea Bankowski and husband Vinson MD, Kristen Siefert of CA, Amanda Siefert of CA and Janelle Siefert of WA. Great grandchildren, Brandon, Lindsey, Michael, Sydney, Henley, Carwyn, Ashley, Ellise, Evelyn, Andrew Christopher, Alijah, Ariana, Athena and Caprice, a sister, Carol Hart, Youngsville, PA, and several nieces and nephews.
Neil was an excellent listener, a true optimist, and very caring. He loved people, and even more his wife, children and extended blended family. He will be greatly missed.
Friends will be received at the Peterson-Blick Funeral Home Inc., 1003 Penna. Ave. East, 1003 Penna. Ave. E., Warren, PA 16365 on Friday, April 14, from 3 to 6 pm., and for one hour prior to the funeral service to be held at 11 am., on Saturday, April 15, at the Emanuel United Church of Christ, with Madeline Edwards, pastor, and Rev. Marcus Briggs, coofficiating
Burial will be in the Oakland Cemetery, Warren, PA.
In lieu of flowers, please consider Hospice of Warren County 2 West Crescent Park, Warren, PA or Emanuel United Church of Christ 1710 Penna. Ave. East Warren, PA 16365.
Those wishing to send condolences may do so by visiting www.peterson blickfuneralhome.com.