Neal O’Neal ’51

Dr. Neal O’Neal, 89, of Valdosta, Georgia, passed away on Friday, January 4th, at the South Georgia Medical Center following an extended illness.

The son of the late Alan Smith O’Neal and Ruth Anderson O’Neal of Winston Salem, NC, he was preceded in death by his wife Virginia Bracy O’Neal, his brother Alan Smith O’Neal Jr of Raleigh, and his sister, Mrs. Ruth O’Neal Pepper of Winston- Salem.

While serving in the U.S. Air Force, Neal met his wife, then 2nd Lt. Virginia Bracy. Their marriage lasted 60 years until Virginia’s death in 2012.

After earning degrees from Davidson College, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and from Florida State University in Tallahassee, he moved his family to Valdosta in 1967 as the newest member of the music department faculty at Valdosta State. Before retiring in 1991, he had served as Department Chairman, provided leadership in a program to offer stringed instrument education in local schools and was recognized as the co-founder and conductor of the VSU Opera program

He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Valdosta for 52 years.

Dr. O’Neal was a man of strong faith, a devoted husband, a father who delighted in his children, a loving Grandfather to two young men (and now their wives), a self-described “obedient younger brother” and a proud Uncle to a niece and nephew who he loved and enjoyed immensely.

He also enjoyed important lifelong friendships.
Former students have remained in touch over the years, bringing him much joy as he followed their professional careers and the activities of their families.

Dr. Neal O’Neal is survived by his daughter, Kathleen O’Neal Bearden (Stan), son Neal O’Neal Jr., of Valdosta, Grandsons Andrew Bearden (Vanessa) of Gainesville, Georgia, and Jordan Bearden (Marissa) of Lawrenceville, Georgia, sister Mrs. Mark C. Garner of Durham, N.C., niece Jeanne Garner Clay of Raleigh, N.C., and nephew M. Craig Garner (Denisa) of Columbia, S.C..

Funeral services were held Monday, January 7th, at The First Presbyterian Church of Valdosta with interment at Sunset Hill.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Break Bread Together Program at First Presbyterian Church of Valdosta, 313 N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA, or to your favorite charity.

Published on January 11, 2019