Josephine Eleanor Neal was born on July 2, 1913, in Clay City, Ind., in the home of her grandparents, to Richard Alonzo Gantz and Nellie Bernice Stuart Gantz, and died April 1, 2017, in Brazil, Ind. She grew up in Muncie, Ind., where her father was a professor at Ball State University, which was then a branch of Indiana State Teachers College. Graduating from Ball State at a very young age, she became a high school teacher of English and Latin and taught in schools in Ashboro, Ind., before she was married and later at Clay City High School and Van Buren High School in Clay County. On Dec. 26, 1936, she married Charles Wayne Neal [1908-1967]. They moved to Clay City in 1940 and both taught there before moving to Brazil, Ind., in 1954, where he taught at Glen High School, and she taught at Van Buren. She earned an MS in English from ISU in 1969.
Eleanor Neal was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Wayne Neal; and her parents, Richard Alonzo Gantz and Nellie Bernice Gantz; one sister, Mary Louise Gantz Ginn; and one grandson, Jonathan Kemp Baker.
She is survived by her children, Catherine Anne Neal Baker [Ronald] of Brazil, Ind., Thomas Raymond Neal [Wendy] of Indianapolis, Ind., and Daniel Robert Neal of Cape Town, South Africa; by her stepson, Lawrence Wayne Neal [Marge] of Williamsburg, Va.; by her sister, Ethel Jane Gantz of Muncie, Ind.; and her brother, John Howard Gantz of Mount Vernon, Ohio; by her grandchildren, Susannah Jill Baker [Raymond Bingham] of Ann Arbor, Mich., Sarah Stuart Neal Estes [Brent] of Bloomington, Ind., and David Whipple Neal [Cheryl] of San Rafael, Calif.; by her great-grandchildren, Maxwell Neal Estes, Julian Stuart Estes, Aidan Thomas Neal, Annaliese Watson Neal and Adelyn Emerson Neal; and her cousin, Shirley Garvin [Hugh] of Malibu, Calif.; as well as nieces and nephews, Ellen Neal Packard [Richard], Jennifer Neal, Robert Neal [Sally], William Neal [Joan], Jeanine Neal Grenfell [John], Janet Neal Crow, Ruth Shackleford Aten [Bob], Jared Gantz and Norman Gantz.
Eleanor loved music, played the piano and organ, and with her classically trained voice became a director of many choirs and a singer at many events. She originated and directed the Choralaires of Clay City in the 1940s, a large choir which sang at many events in the community. In Brazil, she worked with many choirs at the First Methodist Church, directing holiday productions. She regularly sang with the Choral Union in Terre Haute, having principal soprano parts in "The Messiah" each year.
Funeral services will be held at the First Methodist Church in Brazil, Ind., at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Visitation will be one hour before services at the church. Burial will be at Maple Grove Cemetery in Clay City, Ind. French Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. To light a candle in her memory, visit:
Published on April 4, 2017