The Lake County Republican Party lost another exceptional member last week. On early morning Wednesday, September 3, 2014, Robert (Bob) Neal passed away at home, surrounded by many members of his large family.
Bob had a long and storied history of service to his community, from serving as President of the Lake County Council of the Navy League, President of the Waukegan Jaycees, founder of the Gurnee Jaycees, a member of the Zion-Bnton Moose Club, Knights of Columbus, Waukegan Masonic Lodge No. 78, Lake County Shriners, Little Fort Lions Club, Wadsworth Lions Club.
Bob served as a volunteer fireman in Newport Township, President of the Newport Historical Society and President of the Newport Township Civic Association. He served as Chairman and also President of the United Way of Lake County, as President of the Waukegan Exchange Club, and as a founding member of the Coalition for Healthy Communities
Bob was elected to serve in many offices, including as trustee for the Village of Wadsworth for 11 years, as Newport Township Supervisor, as a member of the Lake County Board for 12 years, as Chairman of the Lake County Republican Central Committee for eight years, and as a long time Republican Precinct Committeeman.
He was appointed by Governors Thompson and Edgar to serve as a director of the Illinois State Tollway Authority, where he served for a decade. He later worked for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Wetlands Research, Inc. As President of that not for profit corporation, he oversaw and led the development of the Wetlands demonstration project located in Wadsworth and Gurnee. Later a marsh was named in his honor.
Earlier in life, he was an Eagle Scout with St. Patrick's Troop 75, served in the United States Navy from 1957 to 1961, and later in the Naval Reserves until 1999. He founded Able Electronics in his basement and operated that business in the Waukegan area for over 25 years.
He was born on May 18, 1939 to Leo and Frances (Clarke) Neal in North Chicago and was a life long resident of Wadsworth and a life long member of St. Patrick's Catholic Parish. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Pat (Geissler), his sister-in-law Martha Neal, and children Lori Neal, Cheri Neal, Cathy (Rodney) Karlstrand, Rob Neal, Jr., Joe Neal, and grandchildren Billy Ditzig, Britney Ditzig, Michelle Swanson, Riley Karlstrand, Melissa Neal, Rachel Depuydt, Bill Neal, Betty (Bill) Hoffmeier, Jim (Janet) Neal, Dorothy Desmond (Kevin Scott), Rick (Deb) Neal, along with many nieces, nephews and a large extended family. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Michelle Patrice "Miki" Neal, his parents Leo and Frances Neal, and brother Clarke Neal.
Visitation will be at Immanuel Church, 2300 N. Dilleys Road, Gurnee, on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A remembrance service will be held at 6:00 p.m.
Funeral mass will take place at St. Patrick's Church, 15000 Wadsworth Road, Wadsworth, on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 9:30 a.m., with a visitation scheduled from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Burial with full military honors take place at Ascension Cemetery, 1920 Buckley Road, Libertyville, IL.