Carrel Wesley Neal, 91, of Holly Pond, AL, passed away on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, due to complications from kidney and bladder cancer. He was preceded in death by his loving parents, Chalmers and Malinda (Yates) Neal, and his elder brother, J.B. (Dorothy) Neal.
Carrel’s name was derived from the date of his birth: Christmas Day, 1931. At age one, he contracted polio which caused life-long damage to one leg. Carrel never complained about polio (except for when he was not allowed to serve with his peers during the Korean War). Instead, as Carrel told the story, his parents and older brother constantly encouraged him and instilled a belief that he would lead a full and industrious life, if he was persistent and worked harder than his peers. They were right, as polio did nothing to diminish Carrel’s life or dim his light over the next nine decades.
Carrel’s family moved to Holly Pond from nearby Rock Springs as Carrel entered primary school, and he remained a Holly Pond fixture for the remainder of his life. He married the love of his life, Eula Mae (Gray) Neal of Blountsville, in March of 1950, and graduated from Holly Pond High School weeks later.
After marriage, Carrel began a long career as a truck driver, proud Teamster and Mason, and farmer. Upon retirement from American Freight in 1981, Carrel and Eula Mae continued operating their poultry and cattle farm, and began operating convenience stores and related tire shops in the area, including Neal’s Tire & Lube located in the heart of Holly Pond. Carrel could be found working tirelessly well into his late 70s and his business acumen never waned. He was extremely proud of Holly Pond and its growth during his lifetime.
A Cullman County Republican long before it became en vogue, he supported many candidates in the community with his time and resources. Carrel loved to play Rook and discuss politics with anyone who was willing to listen. He was a connoisseur of banana pudding and Seinfeld. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family, planning the next family reunion, and discussing family genealogy and related stories. Papa Neal, as he was known to his grandchildren and great-children, taught them what it means to be a family, including being present, as well as providing support and unceasing encouragement to one another.
Carrel is survived by his loving wife of almost 73 years, Eula Mae Neal, whom Carrel adored; sister Marie Neal (Alvin (deceased)) Carr; brother Wayne (Gail) Neal; son, Donny (Leigh) Neal; son Mike (Rhonda) Neal; son David (Nina) Neal; son Mark (Sarah) Neal. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, Brian Neal, Kyle Neal, John Cornelius, Sarah Cornelius, Lauren Neal Pendley, Bekah Neal Stephens, D.J. Neal, J.W. Neal, and ten great-grandchildren, Jonathan Cornelius, Molly Neal, Owen Neal, Eliza Gray Neal, Scarlett Neal, Ryker Neal, Scout Neal, Beau Stephens, Abigail Neal, and Benjamin Stephens.
A visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, 2023 at Holly Pond Funeral Home. Funeral service will be held at Holly Pond Funeral Home on Friday, February 24, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. Thereafter, Carrel will be laid to rest in the Holly Pond Cemetery, where Brian Neal, Kyle Neal, D.J. Neal, J.W. Neal, Scott Stephens, and Terry Carr will serve as pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in the name of Carrel to the Holly Pond Cemetery via check made payable to “Holly Pond Cemetery” and mail to the following address:
Holly Pond Cemetery
c/o Carolyn Bryan
904 County Road 694
Holly Pond, AL 35083.
Obituary provided by the Neal family.
Holly Pond Funeral Home is honored to serve the Neal family.