Obituary Listings

John Lawrence Neal

October 15, 1950 January 24, 2018
John Lawrence Neal
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Obituary for John Lawrence Neal

John Lawrence Neal, 67, passed away on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at his home in Durham. He was born on October 15, 1950, the son of the late Joseph Dunwood Neal and Grace Gaster Neal. John was honored to share his birthday with his dad and his first cousin, Ronald Walker of Madison, Wisconsin.

John grew up in West Durham, attending E.K. Powe Elementary, Brogden Junior High and Durham High School, graduating in 1968. After graduating in 1968, John worked in the bookroom for Durham Public Schools for one year. He attended Campbell University for one year, transferring and graduating, with a Bachelor of Science Degree, from NC State University in 1973. He also received a Master of Science degree from NC State University in 1983.

John began his career in the Environmental Sciences Unit for the State Laboratory of Public Health in September, 1973. He worked at the State lab for 37 ½ years, retiring in September, 2010, as a chemistry manager. Upon retirement, John was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, by Governor Beverly Perdue. This order is reserved for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments. After being retired for only one month, John became a beloved substitute teacher at Duke School, especially in Carolynn & Beth’s first grade classroom and Ellen and Amanda’s fourth grade classroom. In May 2011, he also became an after school teacher at Duke School, retiring once again in 2013.

John was a member of Durham Memorial Baptist Church since 1978. He taught the Couples Sunday School class faithfully for over 30 years, teaching his last lesson Sunday before last. He served the church as a member of the deacon board, finance committee and a faithful member of the Building Fundraising Committee for the Family Life Center.

John is survived by his wife of 47 years, Tricia Davis Neal; son, Jason Neal (Krissie) of Garner, NC; daughter, Mandy Neal Koehler (Sven) of Oakville, Ontario, Canada; and two beloved grandsons, Benjamin Koehler and Lukas John Koehler of Oakville, Ontario, Canada. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Don (Peggy) of Alton, Illinois, John Sheats (Eloise) of Raleigh; and sister, Jo Anna Neal Compton.

A memorial service, honoring his life, will be held at 1 pm on Saturday, February 3rd at Durham Memorial Baptist Church, 133 Robbins Road with Rev. Ed Denton officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in the Family Life Center at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorial donations be made to: Tree of Life, Duke University Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Attention: Chanee Leathers, Box 3961, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, 27710; the American Kidney Fund: 11921 Rockville Pike, Suite 300, Rockville, MD, 20852; Durham Memorial Baptist Church Memorial Fund, 133 Robbins Road, Durham, NC 27703.

The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc, in Durham. Online condolences may be made at

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




1:00 PM 2/3/2018 1:00:00 PM
Durham Memorial Baptist Church

133 Robbins Road
Durham, NC 27703

Durham Memorial Baptist Church
133 Robbins Road Durham 27703 NC
United States

Cemetery Details


Oak Grove Memorial Gardens Final Resting Place

3712 Cheek Road
Durham, North Carolina 27704

3712 Cheek Road Durham 27704 North Carolina
United States

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