The Condor Squadron flew its “missing man” formation over Eternal Valley Cemetery Friday in honor of longtime Newhall resident Raphael Augustine Neale.
Neal died June 23, just two months shy of his 100th birthday.
A resident of Newhall since 1960, Neale was predeceased by his wife, Mary Lou Colbert Neale, who was one of the first Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). She died in 2011 at age 97.
Serving both in World War II and the Korean War, Raphael Neale (b. Aug. 14, 1916) flew as a Navy pilot evacuating wounded in the Pacific. He also flew in the Berlin Airlift before becoming a Navy flight instructor.
As a civilian, he spent 20 years as a chief test pilot for Lockheed and later flew in air shows.
Neale is survived by son Steve Neale of Valencia; daughter Denise Neale Jensen (Mark Jensen) of Newhall; son Jim Neale (Catherine) of Manila, The Philippines; and daughter Michelle Bruyere (Larry) of Newhall.
Comforted by loving family members, Ray Neale passed away in the early morning hours of June 23, 2016. Ray was just seven weeks away from celebrating his 100th birthday before departing this world on his final flight.
Ray was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on August 14, 1916. As with many of his generation, world affairs intervened with the natural flow of life. The Great Depression relocated the family to Washington D.C. and then World War II took Ray to the Pacific where he flew medical evacuation missions in the epic battles of the Second World War where he earned two air medals and a gold star.
In May of 1946 Ray married WASP pilot Mary Lou Colbert at St. Ignatius Church in Charles County, Maryland. In 1949 Ray was returned to active duty for the historic Berlin Airlift and then to fly transport during the Korean War. Following the conclusion of hostilities, Ray became the Chief Production Test Pilot for Lockheed, Burbank. In 1960 Ray and Mary Lou moved their family to Newhall and remained for the rest of their lives. Upon retirement in 1977 Ray and Mary Lou would enjoy foreign travel and many excursions in their camper van. Ray was beloved and respected by all who met him. His gracious and positive outlook were an inspiration to many as Ray continued to make new friendships and win hearts up until the final days of his life.
Captain Ray Neale is preceded in death by his beloved Mary Lou. He is survived by sons; Stephen and James, daughters; Denise Jensen and Michelle Bruyere, grandchildren; Christina Misas, Mathew Dugan, Monique Fricke, and Garrett Fricke, and great-granddaughter Maleah Misas.
A Funeral Mass is planned 09:30, July 29th, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Newhall followed by a graveside ceremony with military honors at Eternal Valley. Reception to follow. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/ladailynews/obituary.aspx?n=raphael-neale&pid=180766842#sthash.G5nRhxuw.dpuf