Charles Neil Kingsley, 72, of Norman passed away in his sleep Monday, June 22, 2020 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.
Neil was born April 16, 1948 in Huntington, L.I., New York to Charles F. Kingsley, Jr. and Mary Elise Johnson Kingsley. He attended Lloyd Harbor School and and graduated from Cold Spring Harbor High School in 1966. Neil enjoyed sports, especially baseball, and loved music throughout his life; his high school rock and roll band was called The Mayhems. He made many lifelong friends and attended school reunions regularly until his health declined--then his friends came to him.
He arrived in Norman in 1966 to attend The University of Oklahoma, although he had visited often to see his grandparents and extended family. Neil became involved with local musicians when he started a small recording studio in the early '70s. He worked at the Library Bar, the Mont, and Kelly's, and helped to create a beloved band--The Amazing Rhythm Chickens--that began in 1973 and continued playing for three decades. In 2009, he enjoyed being a member of the advisory board for the Depot's Winter Wind and Summer Breeze concert series.
Neil worked for Radcliffe's Books and Borders Bookstore as well as Little River Trees. He surprised his family by learning to fly (his father had been an airline pilot), and flew to visit friends around the country.
Neil married Donna Meehan in 1976 and had a daughter, Sarah. He was a proud father, and he and Sarah had many happy times and adventures together. He was very pleased to be a grandfather, and enjoyed his visits with Cole.
In 2000 Neil became interested in family history and in republishing his grandfather's (Neil R. Johnson) history of his grandfather, Montford T. Johnson, "The Chickasaw Rancher". The original photographs and maps had been lost before it was published in 1961; Neil set out to find them and met many fascinating people along the way. He was proud of his Chickasaw heritage and even provided his mother with a Chickasaw Tribal Citizenship card which she treasured. The book drew interest from the Chickasaw Nation, and in 2017 they made a film, still in production, of Montford's story. During this period, Neil found time to serve as president of the Cleveland County Historical Society.
Neil was preceded in death by his parents and his younger brother Scott Chapin Kingsley. He is survived by his daughter Sarah, his grandson Coleton Scott Foley, his sister Karen Kerr, and his niece Jessica Kerr, along with his aunt and uncle, Joan and Jack Shelton, and a great many cousins. Neil is also survived by his friend Sandy McPherson, caregiver to his cats, Nadine and Chincie.
His family is very grateful to his many doctors, especially Dr. Ballard and her nurse Sherri, Dr. K, and Dr. Holloway, as well as the therapists and caregivers who provided support through his illness and the last two years at Rivermont Gardens. Neil made many friends at the Norman Parkinson's Support Group.
There will be no service at his request. Memorial donations may be made to the Performing Arts Studio at the Depot, the Norman Arts Council, Wildcare Foundation, the Parkinson's Foundation of Oklahoma, or to a charity of your choice.
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