Kaneko Okada "CONNIE" McNeill
Connie was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan.
She worked for the Japanese government in her native Hiroshima in 1945
when the atomic bomb was dropped by the United States. After the bombing
of Hiroshima, she went back to school to learn English.
She met Andrew C. McNeill while working as an interpreter for the
American government in Japan and they married on April 6, 1961, in
Tokohama, Japan. She moved with him later that year to the U.S. They
came to Salisbury, NC in 1963 and she began painting with local artists
In Japan, she learned Sumi Calligraphy and Sumi-e (oriental Sumi
painting). Connie became an important part of the Salisbury art scene.
She exhibited her art in Salisbury and surrounding towns and taught
watercolor and Sumi-Brush painting at RCCC, Waterworks and throughout
North Carolina. She received numerous awards and recognitions for her
She was a charter member of the Watercolor Society of N.C. and was
awarded an Honorary Life Membership in 1998. In 1997 she was awarded the
Waterworks' Lifetime Achievement Award. Years ago, she designed the
Christmas Honor Card for Rowan Helping Ministries titled Christmas
Sunrise. In 2001, she painted "The Crane Wife" Angel for Robertson
Gateway Park. Connie participated in the Downtown Christmas Angel
project, by painting one of the angels which are displayed in various
business windows during the Christmas season. Her beautiful paintings
can be found in private and corporate collections.
Connie was a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church and was also active
in the Salisbury Women's Club and the International Woman's Club.
Connie was preceded in the death of her husband, Andrew McNeill, on Nov.