Stephen Neal remembered as devoted family man

DARRINGTON — Stephen A. Neal was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who moved to Darrington and came to love the mountain town.

Neal, 55, died March 22 in the Oso mudslide. He and his friend Bill Welsh were installing a water heater in the home of Amanda Lennick on Steelhead Drive when the slide hit.

Neal was born Sept. 29, 1958, in Pittsburgh, Pa. Neal moved with his family to Whidbey Island, where he attended the former Langley High School (now South Whidbey High School).

He met his wife, Brenda, in Seattle, and shortly after their marriage he moved to Darrington to raise a family.

“He was a very strong family man, that was his main drive,” said his daughter-in-law, Jessica Neal.

Stephen and Brenda were married for more than 30 years and were very close.

“They were a very inspirational relationship to me. They showed a lot of love and it was beautiful,” she said.

Stephen Neal ran his own plumbing business, and that was what took him out to Oso with his friend to work on the house there.

“They worked together frequently and helped each other out with jobs,” Jessica Neal said.

But more than anything else, he was devoted to his family: “Barbecues, camping, having the grandkids over and going to catch frogs and salamanders with them,” Jessica Neal said.

He and Brenda had three children, plus four grandchildren who just worshipped him and to whom he loved to tell stories, she said.

“He would make them up: nature stories, ghost tales, things to get them riled up. He had a great imagination,” she said.

He also volunteered with the local Boy Scout troop when his son was in the Scouts, and he would often help out around town with plumbing work.

“This community meant a lot to him,” Jessica Neal said.

Neal is survived by his wife, Brenda, and three children: daughter Caroline Neal, 32, of Arlington, son Ryan Neal, 29, and his wife, Jessica, of Marysville, and daughter Sara Neal, 25, of Darrington. He also had four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at noon Saturday, April 26, at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church, 1272 Highway 530, Darrington. Vistors are welcome to attend and pay their respects.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Most Read