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April 25, 1939 ~ June 19, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old
3 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Charles's family - View on Tribute Wall
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Charles Thomas McNeal, “Tom” to everyone who knew him, was born April 25, 1939 in Kane, Pennsylvania to Mary (Albaugh) McNeal and Charles Francis McNeal. Tom was a proud graduate of Sheffield High School with the Class of 1957. Inez Suzanne (Means) McNeal was Tom’s high school sweetheart and they were married on January 2, 1960 in Saint Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church, Sheffield. Their daughter, Stacy McNeal; their son Steven McNeal (Connie) and their daughter Cheyenne Wills Main; and brother James F. McNeal, along with many nieces and nephews completed their family.
During his high school years, Tom began working at Barnhart-Davis Company and later with the U.S. Forest Service. While work was always important, so too were time with family and friends. Friday nights were often spent at the movies, while Saturday mornings were usually dedicated to washing the family car to be ready for church Sunday morning. Saturday nights were for the roller rink.
Tom was a United States Veteran serving with the U.S. Army Field Artillery Battery in Nuremberg, Germany. After his military service, Tom returned to Sheffield where he built the Sheffield Coin Laundry and soon thereafter added the adjacent car wash. Tom also worked in partnership with his brother Jim McNeal for the Forest Chemical Company on the Herrick Lease located in the Cooper Tract area. Together, they worked as many self-employed people did and still do, by doing what needed to be done. Some of these roles were oil well pulling, well pumping and timber harvesting. After completing his career of over 27 years with the Forest Chemical Company, Tom continued to work with Sheffield Land and Timber Company until his retirement.
During his life, Tom was a devoted supporter of the town of Sheffield. His commitment to honoring the town’s history spurred Tom’s interest in collecting all varieties of Sheffield memorabilia which he believed a valuable aspect of the area’s historical legacy. It was meaningful for Tom to recognize both the people and the heritage of Sheffield. In 1985, along with many friends, Tom was part of a group that retrieved and then placed a cherry tree downed by a tornado that same year as a symbol of the region‘s timber industry. The tree was placed to honor the 1986 Sesquicentennial celebration and remained on that site until mid-2022.
Another community pursuit Tom championed with his friend and SHS classmate Tom Cashmere, along with many donations from community members, was the Epstein Memorial Park. This space created on “The Loop” in Sheffield recognizes the Epstein Family and their contribution to Sheffield. The park is on the site of the former Epstein Store which served many of the oil and timber workers during some of the busiest times in the town’s history, as well as the entire community many years afterward.
In recent years, Tom worked by privately lobbying the Pennsylvania Historical Commission with his letters attempting to have The Hague Well #2 declared a site of historical significance. This well led to the eventual formation of the National Fuel Gas Company which supplied homes and industries via a pipeline to Sheffield.
Supporting the Sheffield Township Library was also important to Tom. He and Suzanne added many recourses in honor of many Sheffield residents. Several paintings, which Tom commissioned by local Artist Shirley Smith, depict the charm and nostalgia of Sheffield’s churches, businesses and early historical homes. These paintings are currently on exhibit for library visitors to enjoy the architectural history of the town.
As a member of the Sheffield Depot Preservation Society, Tom collaborated along side others to preserve and highlight the Depot‘s museum and amassed a collection of railroad related artifacts and memorabilia.
Many of Tom’s friends know he deeply loved Nature and all animals. Throughout his life, Tom’s family shared their residences, cottages, cars and open spaces with beloved dogs and cats, each a cherished companion, all considered “family.”
Memorials may be made to the Sheffield Township Library, Sheffield, Pennsylvania.
Private burial was held on June 23, 2023, at the Sheffield Cemetery, officiated by Dennis Sturdevant. Full military honors were accorded by Sheffield VFW Honor Guard and the United States Army. All arrangements were under the care of the Borden Funeral Home in Sheffield.
To leave an online condolence, please visit www.bordenfuneralhome.com.