Graveside memorial services for Roderic Cecil (Rod) Neal will be held Friday, July 2, at 10:00 AM at the Eiland Cemetery in Arch, New Mexico. Follow NM88 east from Portales toward Arch. The cemetery is located just north of NM88 on South Roosevelt Road J about a mile before reaching Arch.
Roderic Cecil Neal was born August 26, 1935 in Rushden, England to the home of Olive Dora and Cecil Neal. On Friday, June 25, Rod had spent the morning with family sharing stories of family history, working in the yard, and making repairs on the house when a heart attack took him from us suddenly.
Rod’s childhood was spent in England. He spoke often of fond memories of his home country and his family, especially his Gran and cousin John. He also shared stories of the hardships of growing up during World War II.
In 1949, Rod crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Mary with his mother and step-father, William L. (Bill) Smith, to settle in Arch, New Mexico. Rod graduated from Portales High School in 1953. In 1957, Rod married the love of his life, Ivy Christine Woolf, and together they began to build the foundation of a farm life that would be filled with hard work, family, and love. They spent their 64 years together working the land, establishing community ties, and nurturing their family. After retiring from farming in 2000, Rod continued to “farm” on a smaller scale as he created a paradise on the prairie. He, at last, had time to devote to his lifelong passions: gardening and landscaping, restoring antique cars, enjoying the fellowship of his car club, reading nonfiction, and collecting antiques.
Rod is survived by his wife, Christine, two daughters, Valeri Wright and Ellen Neal-Eakin; daughter-in-law Betty Moore; son-in-law Don Eakin; grandchildren Eric Wright, Emily Grudier, Ethan Wright, Johanna Singleterry, Jeremy Neal, Jillian Barker, Jules Neal, Justin Neal, Jim Neal, Bryant Neal, Rylon Neal, Cara Channing Bennett, Laney Neal, Turner Neal, Natasha Lovato, Nicole Lovato, Drake Eakin, and Garrett Eakin; 22 great grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter.
Rod was preceded in death by his mother, Dora Smith; his father, Cecil Neal; his step-father, Bill Smith; his son, Rod Neal; and two daughters, Dora and Sara Neal.
Rod was a loving and beloved husband, father, and grandfather. He will be remembered for his devotion to his family, his unmatched work ethic, his love of history, his wealth of knowledge, and the beautiful home and yard he created. The magnitude of the loss we all feel is assuaged only by the memories we will cherish forever, our gratitude for the precious time we shared, and the legacy of love and family which was his gift to us.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Roderic Cecil Neal, please visit our floral store.