Mrs. Bettie Sue Neal Neal, 94, died peacefully at her home in Lawrenceville on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018.
Born and raised in Clover, Va., Mrs. Neal was one of 10 children born to Sallie Blanch Throckmorton and Tom Steven Neal. She had been an active and revered resident of Lawrenceville for more than 70 years, having settled there after World War II and her marriage to Harold Jones Neal Sr. in 1942.
While busy raising her family of four children, Mrs. Neal was also involved in the civic life of her adopted hometown. She was the first president of Town and Country Garden Club, and was also a member of the Lawrenceville Women’s Club, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, the Lioness Club, and the Firemen’s Auxiliary.
Her membership in Lawrenceville United Methodist Church was one of the most meaningful of her life. In addition to being a regular Sunday morning church-goer, she was president of the United Methodist Women, a Sunday School teacher, and chairman of her circle. She also helped decorate the church with flowers for special occasions and she assisted with refreshments whenever there was a reception. If the church doors were open, Mrs. Neal was there.
Mrs. Neal’s greatest joy was her family, which had grown to include 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. She was never happier than when surrounded by her family, and she took great delight in hosting the entire family in her home, whether for a festive holiday gathering with everyone’s favorite dishes or a bowl of Brunswick stew at the kitchen table.
She loved to cook, and Thanksgiving especially showcased her talents in the kitchen as well as her loving spirit. Besides turkey and all the trimmings, her sideboard groaned with every vegetable known to man, in order to satisfy the preferences of every single family member. There were also multiple desserts, and though she enjoyed trying new recipes, her famous chocolate pie was her signature treat. She often baked the tasty concoction of chocolate custard topped with meringue for bereaved families, shut-ins, and church bazaars.
Mrs. Neal loved her circle of friends and she loved socializing. She played bridge on a regular basis for many years, and she once remarked that she sometimes had trouble concentrating on the game because she got caught up in conversation.
She also was a member of the local Red Hat Club and she joined in on every excursion that her schedule allowed. She enjoyed excellent health until recent months, and she continued to take pleasure in outings with her family as well as trips to shop, go out to eat, or have her nails and hair done.
Mrs. Neal was predeceased by her husband, who died in 1975. In addition to 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, she is survived by her four children and their spouses, Bettie Brent Neal Vaughan (Charles) of Lawrenceville; Dr. Harold J. Neal Jr. (Jamie) of Emporia; John C. Neal (Susan) of Fredericksburg; and Russell C. Neal (Nancy) of Dinwiddie.
Surviving grandchildren and their spouses are Sloan Canaday (Brian) of Richmond; Meredith Sawyer (Tom) of Alexandria; Charlotte Crane (Adam) of Ashland; Harrison Vaughan (Danielle) of Wake Forest, N.C.; Sallie Vaughan of Lexington, S.C.; Taylor Neal (Rachel) and Gordon Neal (Katherine), both of Richmond; Katherine Neal of Fredericksburg; Elizabeth Mims (Weston) of Mount Sidney; and Sarah Phillips (Blake) of Franklin. She also is survived by a sister, Elsie N. Griles of Clover; her sister-in-law, Violet M. Neal and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Mrs. Neal’s caregivers over the past two years enabled her to remain in her beloved home, and the family sincerely appreciates their devotion to her well-being.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at Lawrenceville United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends at the church at 12 noon prior to the service.
Memorial Contributions may be made to Lawrenceville United Methodist Church Elevator Fund, P.O. Box 2, Lawrenceville, VA 23868. Mrs. Neal wished to be cremated and her remains will be buried alongside her husband at Oakwood Cemetery in Lawrenceville. Williams Funeral Home in Lawrenceville is handling arrangements.