Damon Neal was born in 1950, to Louise and Richard Neal. The American economy was booming, the average American family could actually afford to buy a home, and the heads of most households were gainfully employed. It should have been easy living, but for Damon, as for so many, troubles were hidden below the surface of an apparently comfortable life.
Damon strove to be a good brother to his older sister, Michael Anne (known as "Mickey"), a free spirit who wouldn't be pinned down, and didn't lend herself to being chaperoned by her brother or anyone else. He graduated with a degree in psychology from the National University in Los Angeles, and put his education and desire to help others to use in volunteering for those in need, making many friends along the way. He was devoted to the Lions, for whom he worked for a couple of years. He was married twice, but had no children, so he lavished love on his nieces and others in his life. He developed an easy, hearty laugh, and learned to publicly count his blessings and privately hide his worries from all except his closest friends. He became determined to create for himself in adulthood the comfortable life he didn't have as a child.
Damon was intelligent and talented, the quintessential salesman, and he engaged in several successful business ventures, including the popular Treasures Of series. The recession took its toll, but Damon remained focused on achieving his dream: he had fallen in love with Barcelona, and hoped to retire there. Until he passed away unexpectedly on November 9, 2010, he continued to search for a way to put his talents to good use, and pave the way for his dream.
Damon will be remembered for the people and things he loved; Native American art shared wall space with modern sketches and Monet prints, he liked jazz, classical, and folk music, depending on his mood; and, having moved here from Southern California, he reveled in the natural beauty of Oregon, and enjoyed hiking, rafting, and just sitting quietly by Bear Creek.
Damon will be missed by many. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in his name to the Southern Poverty Law Center at http://www.splcenter.org. A memorial service will be held on June 25, 2011. For details on the memorial, and to share your memories, go to the Facebook page: Damon Neal A Celebration of Life.
Obituary was originally scheduled to print March 20, 2011.