December 6, 1934 - October 9, 2022
Lt Col Donald West Neal, USAF
December 6, 1934 – October 9, 2022
“…but they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They shall rise up with wings of eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
With great sadness, we announce the passing of a dear loving husband and father – Donald West Neal (our beloved Poppy/Grandad) on October 9, 2022 at the age of 87 years. We are left with many wonderful memories and many future plans. Yet, that was not meant to be, as God is the Master Planner. We are grateful that Don was loaned to us for so many years.
Don Neal was born on December 6, 1934 to parents Victor and Mary Kathryn Neal on a farm in Fayette County, Kentucky (near Lexington). When Donnie was 5 years old, he began working on a farm with his father and later was joined by his siblings. The eldest of 8 children, he worked hard all of his life. After his family moved to Ohio, Don attended Burbank High School where he played basketball, played clarinet in the band, acted in the school plays, and excelled in academics. While attending Ohio State University, he held a variety of jobs, including the dairy science program and working at an aircraft factory, as well as completing the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Don graduated in 1956 with a degree in agriculture. He taught high school agriculture for one year prior to being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. Later, he earned a masters in education and counseling at Baylor University and worked toward the War College Program.
Don had a variety of assignments in the Air Force including: Radar Operations Officer at North Bend, Coos Bay, Oregon; Navigator instructor at James Connally Air Force Base (AFB), Waco, Texas; Public Affairs Officer at Webb AFB in Big Spring, Texas; Navigator on the AC-47 Gunship at Phu Cat Air Base in South Vietnam; Navigator at England AFB, Louisiana; Public Affairs Officer assigned to HQ USAF at the Pentagon; and Navigator on C-130s and Project Officer for the Commanding General at Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas. Lt Col Neal retired from the Air Force in 1985 after 28 + years of service.
While assigned to Dyess AFB, Lt Col Neal met Sophia Hiscock in Goose Bay, Labrador. They married on December 24, 1978. The marriage to Sophie produced a blended family of 10 kids. Always an entrepreneur, he worked in a variety of business ventures including real estate, mutual funds, insurance, and other items such as Organo coffee and healthy products. He was an educator, a life long learner, and a mentor to many.
Don Neal was a kind, gentle and God-loving man. He volunteered in many capacities with the VFW, Chamber of Commerce and Churches in many communities. He was active in the Downtown Houston Optimist Club. Throughout his life, he enjoyed attending Base Chapel services, First United Methodist Church of Missouri City, reading the Bible and giving prayers at family gatherings. Don passed away on October 9, 2022 after a four year courageous battle with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)-related to agent orange exposure in Vietnam, and other health challenges.
Don is preceded in death by his parents: Victor and Mary Kathryn Neal, five siblings: Jim Neal, Mary Loomis, Gwen Fisher, Kenneth Neal, and Paul Neal, by his first wife (mother of his 3 children) Eleanor Mae McLees, sisters-in-law: Ida Jo Baker Neal and Jo Anne Gorsuch Neal, brother-in-law Dale Fisher, sisters-in-law: Louise Kean (Harold); Effie Woodland (Robert), Myrtle Bonvie (Joseph), and brothers-in-law: Eli Melendy, infants Levi and Samuel Melendy, Ralph Melendy (Olive), and Austin Lane.
Don is survived by his loving wife, Sophie, siblings Kelly Neal and David Neal (Tamie), sister-in-law Shirley Pike Neal, brother-in-law Glenn Loomis, sisters-in-law Jean Lane and Bertha Melendy, and brother-in-law Samuel Melendy (Dorothy).
Don is survived by his children: Deborah McCash, Don Neal Jr. (Teresa), Diane Herrera (Mike), Gerald Hiscock, Anthony Hiscock, Melanie Blake (Denley), Joanne Elton, Cheryl Leonard (William), Melinda Hiscock, and Carey Hiscock (Slina). Beloved grandchildren numbering 21 include: Carolyn Hogberg (Daniel), Hannah Cotten (Jake), Grace Dudney (Drew), Jason McCash, Richard McCash (Rebekah), Melanie Blake, Tiffany Elton, Stephanie Hilchey (Chris), Bethany Blake (Adam Pardy), Lisa Elton (Joseph Klarer), Christopher Hiscock (Monica), Kerri-Lynne Blake (Tyler Powell), LeeAnna Elton, Denley Blake (Jen), Douglas Elton, Andrew Hiscock, Carina Hiscock (James Regan), Roel Anderson (Ashley), Liam Leonard (Brianna Tokrud), Anthony Hiscock, and Mathew Hiscock.
Don is also survived by his precious 24 great-grandchildren: Wesley Blake, Rebekkah Williams, Jax Anderson, Ciera McCash, Brianna Blake, Kierra Blake, Brooklyn Blake, Kendra Blake, Leah Williams, Bella Stone, Hope Hogberg, Liam Anderson, Evelina Hiscock, Noah Hogberg, Antonio Hiscock, Ellie Blake, Joy Hogberg, Kiesha Blake, Leonard Anderson, Morris Blake, Cole Hilchey, Matteo Hiscock, Avery Cotten, and Ronin Klarer.
Don left behind numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and other extended family, as well as dear friends.
The family appreciates all the medical staff who helped provide care over the last four years. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the charity of your choice would be preferred.
Public Visitation will be October 26 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Darst Funeral Home, 796 Russell Palmer Rd, Kingwood, Texas 77339. Funeral service will be held at Darst Funeral Home on October 27, at 10:00 a.m. Burial with military honors will be October 27 at 2:15 p.m. at the Houston National Cemetery, 10410 Veterans Memorial Dr, Houston, Texas 77038.
A visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at Darst Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 27, 2022 at Darst Funeral Home Chapel with David Neal officiating. Graveside services will be at 2:15 p.m., Thursday, October 27, 2022 at Houston National Cemetery, 10410 Veterans Memorial Dr., Houston, Texas 77038.
To express your sympathy with a flower arrangement please contact our florist.