MILROY - At 2 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2013, James Neal received the greatest Christmas present ever, as he went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, with his wife holding his hand as he passed. He had been a resident of Ohesson Manor for the last five months.
Born April 19, 1923, in Mount Pleasant, Del., he was the son of the late James Martin and Grace E. (Webster) Neal. He is survived by the love of his life, Elaine 'Sis' (Shank) Neal, whom he married on July 2, 1989.
James is also survived by: two sons, James Ralph Jr., Fair Vision, Okla., and John Robert Neal, Chesapeake, Va.; four grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren; and a number of nieces and nephews.
The last of his immediate family, he was preceded in death by: an infant daughter, Virginia; four brothers; and two sisters.
After leaving Newark High School, he took courses for Westinghouse Air Brake. In 1941 he started in Wilmington, in the Pennsylvania Railroad Shop during the steam engine days. J.R. went into the locomotive engine service in 1941 and retired after 49 years of service, as a locomotive engineer.
Along with working on the railroad, in the 1960s, Mr. Neal formed Delaware Home Builders Corporation, building custom homes in the Newark and Cooches Bridge Area of Delaware. He sold the corporation and land around Dover to former Delaware Attorney General David Buckson, who built Dover Downs Race Track.
J.R. was active in the Hiram Lodge AF & AM Blue Lodge of Newark, Del. He was a member of the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry since April 1970, and joined the Nur Temple in 1977. After relocating to Milroy, he transferred membership to the Jaffa Temple of Altoona. He was a member of the Church Hill United Methodist Church, Reedsville.
He and his wife worked enthusiastically collecting for the Crippled Children's Hospital, until his health prohibited it. J.R. enjoyed traveling in his motor home to the south and west during the winter months.
His funeral will be held at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, at Church Hill United Methodist Church, 199 Woodland Circle, Reedsville, with the Rev. Jean Ward officiating. Burial will take place at Silver Brook Cemetery Wilmington, Del.
The viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., on Saturday, at the Bohn Funeral Home, Reedsville.
Memorial contributions may be made to Meals on Wheels: c/o Linda Gilmore, 20 Liberty Lane, Reedsville, PA 17084.