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James Neal

December 18, 1938 — July 16, 2011

James Neal passed away Saturday, July 16, 2011. Age 72 years. He was born December 18, 1938 in Forrest City, Arkansas to James W. Neal and Maggie Graham Higgins.
James graduated from Lincoln High School in Forrest City, AR in 1958 where he was an all-around athlete competing in the schools three major sports football, basketball and baseball. He was a member of the state champion Lincoln Tiger Football teams (1953-1956) that won 33 consecutive games. He played halfback and quarterback. Sports was his passion and he was invited to a baseball tryout camp with the Kansas City As (now the Oakland As). In 2009, he was inducted into the Forrest City Athletic Hall of Fame.
James spent his formative years in Forrest City before moving to New York where he worked for A&P Catsup Company. That job led to Hunts and finally to Brooklyn, NY where he became a carpenter. He eventually resided in Saginaw, Michigan and was a retired laborer with General Motors. He was a member of the Bad News Bears baseball team for many years. He was an avid fisherman, had a green thumb (gardening) and enjoyed sitting and talking in his garage with his beloved friend of many years, Taylor Webb. James was a child of God and he will be deeply missed.
He leaves to cherish his memory one son, James Robert Neal of Grand Rapids, MI; eight daughters, Deirdre (Darrin) Cuffie of Tustin, CA, Cyd Neal of Grand Rapids, MI, Donna (Cecil) Rivera of Grand Rapids, MI, Dannielle (Larry) Monroe of Saginaw, MI, Cheryl (Ralph) McKenzie of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, Pam Caruthers of Oakland, CA, Sharon (Thomas) McLaurine of Memphis, TN, Denise (Tyrone) Lowe of Kansas City, MO; three brothers, Larry Graham and Frank Neal (Naomi), both of Saginaw, MI, Tommy Neal of Forrest City, AR; three sisters Olivia Bryson and Mary Neal, both of Saginaw, MI and Christine Miller (Charles) of Iowa; grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many other relatives and friends.
James was preceded in death by his mother, Maggie Graham Higgins, father, James W. Neal Sr.; brother, Leroy Neal; sister, Joann Neal and daughter, Crystal Neal-Simpson.

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