(1935 – 2020 Sept. 26): Age 85
Neal was born in New York City and died in Chandler, AZ. A talented artist from a young age, Neal traveled to more than 100 countries in his 85 years, his sketch book always along for the ride. His career path was as wide ranging as his travels, from art director for an advertising agency to cutting sugar cane in Hawaii, his favorite spot on earth. However it was the field of archaeology that ultimately claimed his attention and after many years of leading crews and excavating parts of Canada, Alaska and Arizona, he retired to sit by the pool in Tempe, AZ for some well-deserved rest. Married to the love of his life, Margaret ("Peg") for over 50 years, he is also survived by his daughter Colleen (Jonathon) and grandchildren John and Amanda. In honor of his love for animals, donations in his memory may be made to Best Friends Animal Society or any local animal charity.
When Neal retired, he asked me if I would be interested in his job at the BIA. I said yes and was hired the next year. I'm sure Neal put in a good word for me. I always enjoyed going into the field with Neal. He and I were the main archaeologists for the Diamond Bar Road project in northwestern Arizona. In the 1990s, Neal was the roads archaeologist for the BIA and I was the BLM field office archaeologist in Kingman, AZ. The Diamond Bar road is the route whereby tourists from Las Vegas visit the "Sky Walk" out over the Grand Canyon, on the Hualapai Nation (Indian reservation). Part of the route crossed BLM public lands. We successfully rerouted the road around several sensitive and sacred sites. This was not easy to do and required considerable engineering and funding by the BIA. I will always remember Neal emerging from a catclaw/mesquite thicket where he was searching for cultural resources. He was bleeding from deep scratches on his head and arms. Some archaeologists would have not gone there but, Neal did. He didn't find anything. He certainly could have and he just wanted to do a good job. Neal's passing has come as a shock to me. We just returned to Arizona last month. On my desk I have his phone number which I recently looked up. I was planning on calling him and see how he was doing. I have not had contact with him for years after moving on to other jobs in other states. May he rest in peace.
Thanks to Don Simonis for this article.