Dr. Franklin Niel Postlethwait died on January 31, 2018 at his home in Wild Quail, Wyoming, Delaware, at the age of 93 after a long battle with cancer.
Niel is survived by his wife, Mary Catherine; his son, Tom Postlethwait of Dover, Delaware and his wife, Vivian; his daughter, Linda Metheny of Alexandria, Virginia, and her husband, Bob; his stepson, Mark Fifer of NYC, New York, and his wife, Bess; his stepdaughter, Susan Fifer of Wyoming, Delaware, and her husband, Stephen Woods; his grandchildren Niel Postlethwait, his wife, Kristin, and their children, Caleb and Luke; Sam Postlethwait and his wife, Kim and their children, Mason and Lane; Daniel Metheny, and Rebecca Metheny Mason and her husband, Steve and their children, Maelee, Ollie, and Lilee. He is also survived by his brother Samuel Noel Postlethwait of Lafayette, Indiana; his sister, Dare Dodrill of Mt. Gilead, Ohio; and numerous nephews and nieces. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Terethia Marguerite Jenkins Postlethwait of Gloucester, Virginia; and three sisters, Garnet Higginbotham, Koryl Campbell, and Jolene Kayle Sturm.
Niel was born June 24, 1924 at home on Allister’s Ridge (“The Hill”, as he affectionately called it), West Virginia, to Frank and Etta Postlethwait. He attended Fairmont State College and graduated from West Virginia Tech. He received his Master’s Degree in Education from the College of William and Mary and his Doctorate in Education from Nova University.
Some of Niel’s fondest and proudest memories were of his early years training during the final years of World War II to become a Naval Aviator for an F-6F Hellcat. The war ended while he was enroute to Japan. Niel began his career in education teaching Industrial Arts in Gloucester, Virginia.
He was selected to become the first principal at Turner Ashby High School in Dayton, Virginia. He was then chosen to become the Superintendent of the Caesar Rodney School District in 1961, a position he held (with a brief position at the Delaware Department of Education) until his retirement in 1989. The respect for Niel was demonstrated within the community when a new school was named the “F. Niel Postlethwait Middle School” in 1999.
Niel was a passionate golfer and spent many hours at the Wild Quail Golf and Country Club course into his nineties. Niel was an active member of the Church of Christ in Dover and a long-time Rotary Club member. Above all, Niel was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
A visitation will be held at the Pippin Funeral Home in Wyoming, Delaware on February 9, 2018 from 6:00-8:00 PM. A funeral is scheduled for February 10, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Wyoming Methodist Church. Ron McFarland will officiate the ceremony. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Niel’s life. A private burial will take place in Gloucester, Virginia, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Dover Church of Christ, 1156 S Governors Ave, Dover, DE 19904; Delaware Hospice, 911 S. DuPont Hwy, Dover DE 19901; or Fox Chase Cancer Center, ATT: Institutional Advancement, 333 Cottman Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19111.
911 S. Dupont Hwy, Dover DE 19901
Dover Church of Christ
1156 S. Governors Avenue, Dover DE 19904
Fox Chase Cancer Center
333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19111