Gregory McNeal

KINGWOOD, Texas | Gregory Lynn McNeal was born on Aug. 9, 1948, in Carbondale, IL, to William Junior McNeal and Barbara Jean Lackey McNeal. He spent his early childhood in Hot Springs, AR, along with his two brothers, Garrett and Glendon. He enjoyed Boy Scouts and when he returned from Boy Scout Camp at age 10, he was sent to the Arkansas Baptist Home in Monticello, AR, along with his brothers when his parents divorced. He always said it was the best place for them and remained there until his graduation where he learned the important values of hard work, trustworthiness and dependability. He was crowned Prom King in his senior year, played football and was the Arkansas State Champion in the mile track event.

He enrolled in Ouachita Baptist University for two years until he was due to be drafted and joined the U.S. Navy in 1968 during the Vietnam War. He served his country for four years and was discharged as a BM2 (boatswain's mate second class). He moved to Memphis, TN, where he enrolled in the University of Memphis and received his BA in accounting. He also worked as an intern for the IRS and when he graduated, he became a full-time employee of the IRS until he retired in 2011.

He met and married the love of his life, Karen Kulpaca, in Houston where they first met at the pool on the weekend and he was hooked on her cooking. Greg and Karen raised three sons, Gregory Jr., Justin and Joshua, who were their pride and joy. He volunteered often and was a Boy Scout leader, soccer coach, swim team timer and was always the first to help when needed. His three sons each rose to the rank of Eagle Scout and he was very proud of their accomplishments and was able to go to Philmont and the Upper Boundary Waters with them.

When the boys left home, he and Karen became avid scuba divers and traveled the world on many, many scuba adventures including Palau, Yap and the Galapagos. They also traveled extensively and managed to hit five continents including Antarctica. They had a favorite secret code that they used with each other, posted on notes to each other and when signing off on the phone: SHMILY (see how much I love you).

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Greg was a collector of coins, stamps and paper money and especially enjoyed cataloging paper money mostly U.S. currency and traded with various collectors around the United States and recruited various family members in different federal reserve districts to get dollar bills for his collection and trading.

Greg was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in March 2018 and battled this fatal disease until he died peacefully in his sleep in his own bed, in his own home, with his wife and son Justin by his side on May 31, 2019, one day shy of the traditional Memorial Day.

He leaves behind his grieving wife of 38 years, Karen; sons, Gregory (wife Tonia), Justin and Joshua (Alvina); his daughter, Amanda (husband William); two grandchildren, Blake and Brooke; and his brother, Garrett.

He will be interred, with military honors, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, SD, in the Black Hills where he and Karen were married, and their children were baptized. Any memorial donations can be made in his memory to the Arkansas Baptist Home in Monticello, AR. Services will be held at noon on Monday, July 8, at Black Hills National Cemetery, located at 20901 Pleasant Valley Dr., Sturgis, SD 57785.

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