Obituary of Thomas Neil Poling
Thomas Neil Poling was a husband, father, grandfather and friend who passed away on Aug 17, 2022 after returning from the trip of a lifetime with his wife of more than 47 years. He was 67 years old.
Neil Poling was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 10th, 1955, to Margaret Eileen and Ellis Ray
Poling. His childhood was spent playing with his younger sister Susan and visiting grandparents
on their farm in West Virginia. As a young person, his family moved from Illinois to Anaheim
and then to Brandon, Florida where he met Becky McClurg during their senior year of high
school. The two fell in love and Neil followed her and her family to Stone Mountain, Georgia
where they married.
After serving 4 years in the Air Force in Oklahoma, Neil and Becky returned to Georgia, where
they raised their two sons. Neil worked in a variety of jobs while attending college, earning a
bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Public Administration.
Neil made his career in the transportation industry. He worked as office manager for various
trucking companies prior to going to work at MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit
Authority) in Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked for more than 20 years. While at MARTA, he
was responsible for implementing the fare collection system (Breeze), which was one of the
first and largest switchovers from coin-based fare collection to smartcards. Gaining this
specialized experience is what ultimately brought him to the SF Bay Area. Booze-Allen
recruited him to bring the Clipper card program to MUNI, so he took early retirement from
MARTA and moved to San Francisco.
Neil loved the city, where he and Becky enjoyed hours of walking the city streets. Timing was
good as their eldest son Matt had moved to SF, and their younger son Ryan would join them
soon after college graduation, making the bay area the home of the Poling Family.
After several years as a consultant, Neil retired from his professional life and became a
grandfather. Shortly after, he moved to the Monterey Coast. Here he enjoyed being “Pops” to
his 3 grandchildren, Jake, Katie and Jamison, exploring the outdoors, taking up genealogy, and
volunteering for CHOMP. Neil liked to be of service and found it hard to stay away from his volunteer duties during the Covid-19 pandemic. He kept busy by working at Covid test sites
until he could return to volunteering in the ED and Auxiliary office at CHOMP.
Neil was an enthusiastic researcher of his family’s genealogy and spent hours reading and
connecting dots to people and places. In early August, Neil and Becky took a river cruise with
AMA Waterways and Ancestry.com which took them to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany,
France and Switzerland. He called it the trip of a lifetime sending postcards to his family daily
Neil was preceded in death by his mother Margaret “Peggy” and father Ellis “Ray” Poling. He is
survived by his wife of 47 years, Becky Poling (Marina, Ca.), his sister, Susan Wilson (Lakeland,
Fl.), his two sons and daughters-in-law, Matt and Natalie Poling (Carmel, Ca.), Ryan and Melissa
Poling (Pacifica, Ca.), and grandchildren Jake (9), Katie (4) and Jamison (2).
A memorial service will be held Saturday Sept 17 th at 10:30am at Church of the Wayfarer in
Carmel by the sea. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Montage
Health Foundation, The American Heart Association, or The National Park Service in Neil’s
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