Stuart M. Neal, age 84, formerly of Sheridan, died at Sanders Glen in Westfield Nov. 29. Born in Hamilton County at the family home place on Dec. 10, 1933, he was the son of the late Glen S. and Maude M. (Millikan) Neal. Stuart loved that he was born and raised on the family homestead and felt very lucky to be able to return to that same home and spend the majority of his adult life there.
After graduating with the Westfield High School class of 1952, Stuart enrolled at Purdue University, earning a degree in electrical engineering in 1956. Following his studies at Purdue, Stuart went to work for Motorola at their facilities in Chicago. He was with the company only a short time before leaving to serve his nation with the U.S. Army. Stuart spent most of his military career at Cape Canaveral but also served for a short time in Alabama.
After leaving the service, Stuart took a position with GM/Delco Electronics in Kokomo. GM seemed to be a perfect fit for Stuart. He would spend the next 45 years with the company, helping to develop GM’s electronic fuel injection system. Stuart retired from GM in 1998, giving him more time to devote to his other hobbies and interests.
Although Stuart was an electrical engineer by trade, he was fascinated with the mechanics of how things worked. He, along with his sister and brother in law, would frequent tractor shows whenever they got the chance. He had a genuine respect and admiration for their construction and for the way the entire piece of machinery functioned. His analytical mind loved the challenge of trying to decipher how something worked and how to fix it when it broke. For the most part, if it was broke, Stuart could probably fix it.
Another passion that Stuart had was researching local history and genealogy. He was a member of both the Westfield and Sheridan Historical Societies. During his tenure with both organizations, he was an integral part of their researching efforts, as well as teaching countless individuals how to properly track down their own family histories. Stuart was very independent and seemed to be constantly on the go. He was a fixture at many of the local libraries. Affectionately known as the man with the walker, he was always quick to point out that he did not need any assistance, and that he would be just fine.
Stuart was a member of the Eagle Creek Evangelical Friends Meeting, where he served as the head usher and clerk, as well as numerous other positions within the church, for many years.
Family, and that includes his church family, were a very important part of Stuart’s life. He was as loyal a friend as you would ever want to know. He very humbly put his own life on hold to take care of his aging parents.
Stuart is survived by his sister, Mary E. Reynolds of Westfield; his nieces and nephews, Sue Anne Spaethe (Jim), Bruce N. Brown, Mark M. Cox (Lynn), Robin M. Reynolds (Debbie), Randy J. Reynolds (Barbara), Mary Ann Davis (Steven) and Laura J. Ridge (Randall); and by the local history librarians of Hamilton County and the surrounding areas, who will miss his visits.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Wilma L. Cox; nephew, Craig M. Cox; and by his brother in law, Darrell Reynolds.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Dec. 6 at Eagle Creek Friends Church, 18103 Eagletown Rd. Burial with Military Honors will follow at Crown View Cemetery in Sheridan. Pastor Steve Pedigo will be officiating. Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5 at Eagle Creek Friends Church.
In lieu of flowers, Memorial Contributions may be presented to either the Eagle Creek Friends Church, or to Gideon’s International.