Harrison Neal, age 91, passed away Thursday morning, July 21, 2016 at his home with his beloved poodle sidekick, Joey, and his family at his side.
Mr. Neal was born on October 3, 1924 in the community of Sharer in Butler County Kentucky to the late William Harrison Neal and Verda Minor Neal. He was raised and attended school in Franklin, Kentucky, the son of a Presbyterian minister. He met the love of his life, Mary Louise Armstrong, in Indianapolis, Indiana and they were married on August 11, 1946. They were married for sixty years.
Mr. Neal served in the United States Navy and was assigned in 1944 to the newly commissioned Essex class aircraft carrier the USS Franklin. The Franklin was bombed by enemy planes in March of 1945 near the Marianas and the crew of about 3400 was reduced to 704 survivors. The crew kept the ship afloat and ultimately it limped back into port in Brooklyn, New York. The Franklin became known as “the ship that wouldn’t sink.” He was proud of his service to our country and was honorably discharged.
Mr. Neal graduated from Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana and planned on attending medical school. While this was in the works, he heard God’s call to the ministry and after moving his family back to Kentucky he began studies at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville. While attending seminary he commuted to their home in Butler County, Kentucky where he served as supply minister for four small rural churches, the same churches that his father had faithfully served before him. The weekdays brought studies at the seminary and the weekends he served the small country churches. He was ordained into the ministry of the Presbyterian (USA) church in 1956.
He served as the first chaplain of the Marion County Indiana Sheriff’s Department and also for a time served the Indianapolis Police Department as their chaplain. This was a very important time in his ministry and he is credited with serving the inmates and their families, the department’s officers and families, and putting into place several programs that continue today. He was instrumental in establishing relations between law enforcement and the community during the Indianapolis race riots of the ’60s. After his retirement from the Sheriff’s Department he served as pastor for Hopewell Presbyterian Church near Franklin, Indiana — a church he thoroughly enjoyed and dearly loved.
Mr. Neal was preceded in death by his parents, his wife and a son Mark Allen Neal. A sister, Narcellus Wilkenson and a brother, William Neal also preceded him in death.
He is survived by a son, Harrison (Carl) Neal II and his wife Marni of Cave Spring, Georgia and son, Steven Neal and his wife, Loretta of Indianapolis, Indiana. Three grandchildren, Lyle Neal (Jennifer) of Crown Point, Indiana, Sarah Osborn (Kevin) of Cedartown and Mark Neal (Rebekah) of Rome, Georgia also survive. His great-grandchildren are Gavin Farr and Zander Carver of Rome, Georgia and Andrew Neal and Angelynn Neal of Crown Point, Indiana.
His grandchildren were the light of his life. Many nieces and nephews also survive.
A memorial service for friends and family to remember and celebrate his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 27 at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Rome. The sheriff’s department of Marion County Indiana will also hold a memorial service at the Fraternal Order of Police Hall in Indianapolis on Wednesday, August 24.
The family owes great gratitude to Heyman Hospice, Dr. Lee O’Neal and other physicians who provided excellent care for him in recent years and through the end of his life.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in his name to Covenant Presbyterian Church of Rome, GA; Silver Creek Presbyterian Church of Silver Creek, GA or the Salvation Army.