William B. Neal, age 86 of Joplin, passed away at 11:07 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at Freeman West Hospital after a short illness.
Bill was born September 29th, 1925, the son of the late George and Hazel Neal. He received his entire elementary and secondary education in the Joplin public school system. After graduating in the class of 1943 and entered the United States Army. William served in the European Theatre of operations in World War II. He was in General Patton’s 3rd Army, serving in Belgium and Germany including in the Battle of the Bulge. After being discharged for frozen feet he returned home to Joplin. He went into business with his father in a meat packing company, Pipkin-Boyd Neal Company. In 1954 he developed the Beauty Steak Company, specializing in production of frozen meat items. Always interested in radios, he applied for an a.m. broadcasting license for KQYX. A year later he applied for an a.m. station KSYN and within three months was on the air. He also owned WMBH, an a.m. station. In 2000 he was awarded the Lifetime Pioneer Broadcasters Award. He was also a lifetime member of Missouri Broadcasters Association. He was former member of Joplin R-8 Board of Education from 1963 to 1966 and served as board president from 1966 to 1968. He was a charter member of the Joplin Exchange Club. He belonged to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for sixty years and was a member of the Forum Sunday School Class. Bill enjoyed spending time with friends and family and loved to travel the world.
He married Betty Marsh on December 14, 1946. He is survived by his wife and two children; son, Chris Neal (Karen), daughter, Martha Neal- Johnson(Ed). A daughter, Terri Neal-Stevens, preceded him in death. Additional survivors include seven grandchildren; Shelby Neal, Shawna Neal, Shannon Neal, Jessica Johnson, Hilary Johnson, Whitney Stevens, and Kyle Davis; seven great grandchildren, Kenzie, Alexia, Jaelon, Gabryel, Tatum, Olivia, and Audrey.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church with Rev. Aaron Brown officiating. Interment will follow at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday at Parker Mortuary.