Arthur's Story

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ROCKPORT: Arthur F. Neal, 90, of Rockport, husband of the late Virginia (Green) Neal, passed away on Friday February 5, 2016, after a short illness at the Addison Gilbert hospital. Art was a true native Rockporter, born at the family residence with his twin sister on Upper Main Street on January 15, 1926. He attended Rockport schools, graduating from the high school early to serve in the U.S. Navy in World War II. While in the Navy, he attended Dartmouth College and Navy Radio School. He served until the end of the war on an attack cargo ship station at the US Naval Station at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His ship sailed much of the Pacific War Theater, at one time surviving going through an open ocean typhoon with its waves rolling over the ships bridge for three days. His ship was in Japan for the close of the war.

On returning home, he married his high school sweetheart and continued his electronic education at Mass Radio to receive his 1st class FCC license and later at Lowell Tech for an engineering degree. He worked in the earliest days of television in many technical capacities, first for the RCA Corporation, in an era when if you had a problem with your TV you simply called RCA and they sent a technician to your house to fix it. He then worked at WMUR-TV Channel 9, Manchester, N.H., as part of the stations initial startup group.

The number one thing in Arthur's life was his family, and although he truly enjoyed his work at WMUR, the around the clock, seven-day work schedule, sharply reduced the time he could spend with his wife and children. He left his job in New Hampshire, moving back to Rockport in 1959, building a home next to his parent’s house, on land that had been in the family from before the Civil War. He spent most of the balance of his working life as a technician and then an engineer for Raytheon Missile Systems in North Andover, always most proud of his hands on ability with all things electronic. Retiring 28 years ago, he spent his retirement winters in Estero, Fla., until 2008.

Arthur particularly enjoyed his free time with his family and relatives, such as his brother Charles “Sam” and his wife, Doris (MacIsaac), who built their home next door to him and lived there with their children Linda, Laura and Charles “Sammy”; his sister Nancy and her husband, Art Blackstone and their children, Carol, Donna and Susan; and his twin sister, Adelaide and her husband, Don Williams and their children, Christine, Roberta, Dennis and Faith, lived in the Boston area, but summered at the family homestead in Rockport. His sisters, brother, and in-laws were all lifelong best friends. He always cared the nieces and nephews as if they were his own. Even at his retirement home in Florida, he would get together every week with Sam and Doris, who wintered on Marco Island, and Ad and Don, who were his Florida next door neighbor. He was dually fond of His wife’s family, Albert and Hilda Hobbs of Rockport and Raymond and Myra Green of Magnolia, their children Stephanie, Peter and Chris, and their families.

His other enjoyment was time with a circle of lifelong Rockport friends, most especially the Brewer’s, Dawson’s, and Gerrard’s, and their families.

Captain of the Rockport High School basketball team, he always liked and was good at sports. With his wife, he was a longtime member of the Rockport Golf Club and continued playing golf weekly through this season, until a few days before he became ill in November. He fondly remembered being a member of the Rockport High School Band, with his sister, Adelaide.

He also was a lifelong member of the Rockport United Methodist Church, working with his wife as a regular volunteer, serving on boards, and fundraising dinners and fairs to get the current replacement building built after the fire in 1984.

There are two statements that most describe Arthur. No matter where he traveled including Japan, Hawaii, the West Coast, or time in his beloved New Hampshire, the East Coast, and Florida, he always said he never saw anything anywhere any better than coming across Nugent’s stretch back into Rockport. Secondly, many people who knew him his whole life or some who just spent a day with him would remark that he was a most decent person and always a true gentleman. A rare person in today’s world.

He is survived by his son, Lawrence Arthur Nea; brother, Charles Samuel Neal of Rockport; his sister, Nancy Blackstone of Wakefield; his brother-in-law, Rev. Donald Williams of Concord, Mass.; his wife’s half-siblings, Stephanie (Green) McLeod of Virginia Beach, Va., and Peter Green of Milton, Fla.; and many nieces, nephews and their families. He was predeceased by his parents, Ernest and Martha (Brown) Neal; wife, Virginia (Green) Neal; son, Donald Ernest Neal; sister, Adelaide (Neal) Williams; sister-in-law, Doris ( MacIsaac) Neal; brother-in-law, Arthur Blackstone; and wife’s half-brother, Christopher Green.

He greatly appreciated the care given to him by the nurses at the Addison Gilbert ICU, Hospice Care and Doctor Michael Arsenian.

A graveside service will be held in the spring. Memorial contributions can be made in Arthur’s name to the Rockport United Methodist Church, 36 Broadway, Rockport, MA 01966. Arrangements are by the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington Street, Gloucester. Online condolences may be offered at www.greelyfuneralhome.com.
Published on  February 8, 2016
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