Russel Clifford Neal Sr., an entrepreneur and real estate broker, co-founded a nonprofit ministry for the lost, homeless, hungry, abandoned, handicapped, and addicted with his wife, Carolyn, according to the family-prepared obituary in the Akron Beacon-Journal.***
Reporter Marilyn Miller penned Neal’s news obituary for the Akron newspaper in which she quoted his son, Russel Neal Jr., as saying:
''He was not so full of himself that he couldn't laugh at himself or ask others for help and knew he was blessed when he could help others.''
The elder Neal, who died May 29 at age 74, was named “Father of the Year” in 1979 by his church – Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist.
''My dad told me once, 'I don't have anything to give you but my name,' but it's a name that is respected and loved,'' Neal Jr. said.. . . “He wasn't afraid to tell us where he fell short so we wouldn't make the same mistakes. He was a disciplinarian, but he wasn't afraid to tell us he loved us and kiss us on the cheek.''
This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.