Keith Neal



Keith Neal, a long time resident and teacher of Wishram, WA, passed away on the 2nd of January, 2012, at his home with his wife and son by his side.

Keith was born March 21st, 1931, to Vera E. Hodgson and Fred Orville Neal; in the town of Kettle Falls, WA, County of Stevens. He left behind his wife Virginia, of 55 years, one brother, Ralph Orville Neal (and his wife Mary) living in Kennewick, WA, his two children, Steven R. Neal, living in Wishram, WA, and Cynthia S. Carter (and her husband Doyle), living in Yakima, WA. He was blessed with 4 grandchildren, Jonathon, Jacob, Nathan, and Bethany. He always counted the students he taught as his extended family also.

He attended Kettle Falls and Marcus WA schools. Keith started working at the young age of 16 first in a sawmill, and other short term jobs after taking a short time out to “see the world.” He returned home and joined the Army at the age of 17. After two years in the army he tried the Navy for another two years. He went to corpsman school and then to a ship, the USS Leray Wilson. Then back to San Diego, where he was discharged.

Keith went to Hoquiam, WA to work as a draftsman for “Lamb Grays Harbor,” where he met and married Virginia. They were married in Montesano, just a few miles away, in the 1st Baptist Church, on December 15, 1956, where they were both active members. The next journey was to Centralia. Keith worked for Weyerhaeuser Timber Co., as a draftsman and started his schooling at Centralia Junior College. The next jump was to Spokane, WA where Keith attended Eastern Washington University. Geology was his biggest interest. After graduating he started his career as a teacher. He taught in Nampa, Idaho for two years. He was awarded a full grant scholarship from the “National Science Institute” to attend the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York. He achieved the goal of his Masters degree in just one year in his chosen field of Science. He then returned to Idaho and taught for one year in Pocatello, while trying to secure a position in the state of Washington. When he was offered a position in Wishram, he fell in love with the area and it became his home from then on. He was only in Wishram for one year when he saw the need for an EMT. He went to school nights in 1974 and trained at the Yakima Hospital emergency room weekends. He soon was the first EMT for our area. He used his personal van to transport people to the hospital in either Goldendale or The Dalles. Keith retired from teaching in 1993.

This is just a sketch of Keith’s life. Everyone that he came in contact with has a memory of him in one way or another. He truly cared for all of his students. He wanted nothing more for them but to succeed and be happy in whatever endeavor they tried. He enjoyed the visits from his past students after his retirement.

He will be missed and remembered.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.


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