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

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Smith Island habitat restoration cost to rise $1.2 million

The project is intended to increase survival rates for juvenile chinook salmon.

Jim Mathis, the Vietnam veteran whose Marysville garden was recently featured in The Herald, died Wednesday. Mathis, who suffered from PTSD and cancer, found solace in his beautiful garden. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Vietnam veteran Jim Mathis found peace in his garden

The Marysville man who served two tours died Wednesday after suffering from cancer and PTSD.

Most Read