Our Grandpa John Steve Neal had early onset Alzheimer’s and died at age 64. As a kid, he loved to water ski, camp and go boating. Despite his adventurous nature, our grandfather was nicknamed “the snail” in college because he liked to take his time and enjoy life. He was funny, great at dancing, and loved people. Basically, he was easy to love. He also joined the ROTC during the Vietnam war and served two deployments on a destroyer escort patrolling the Taiwan Straits. He stayed in the reserves until the end of his life as a commander.
He was a hard worker, supportive friend, great father, caring grandfather, and always focused on doing a job well. After he could no longer work, he would get frustrated and try to hide his memory loss. It was also scary for him because he would have moments of lucidity where he would have no idea how he ended up somewhere. Even with his deterioration it was amazing how he could remember how to do things he had done for years like hit a tennis ball. He was still able to play with the family as long as he was told where to stand.
As his memory declined, and he was placed in the VA hospital he had pictures of his dog and family that meant the world to him. He is missed by his family everyday.
Accomplishments: We have raised over 10,000 dollars through fundraisers, the Miami Alzheimer’s Walk, and selling pillows. We have visited over 100 Alzheimer’s patients in South Florida, donating them special pillows and spending the day with them. During the Covid-19 crisis, we have also created over 300 masks for the community. Finally, we were contracted to gift dozens of photo pillows to reward Alzheimer Walk teams in both Austin, Texas and Miami, Florida that raised large amounts of money for fighting Alzheimer’s.