The Reverend Joseph H. Neal, son of the late Mrs. LaVerne Kohn Neal and the late Rev. C R. Neal of Hopkins, SC, was the third of four children, having two brothers and one sister. He was born August 31, 1950 and transitioned from this life at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center on February 14, 2017.
He attended the public schools of Richland County and Mather Academy in Beaufort, SC. He graduated C.A. Johnson High School, class of ’68. Rev. Neal also graduated from Benedict College in ‘72. He studied at Colgate School of Divinity, Rochester, NY and continued his studies at the Pittsburg Theology School, Pittsburgh, PA. He has done further study at the University of South Carolina and is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Benedict College, Columbia, SC.
Rev. Neal has worked as an instructor in Richland School District One; Counselor for the Department of Juvenile Justice: Personnel Recruiter for Fluor-Daniel Engineering Co.; and as a Recruitment Program Manager for the State Budget and Control Board, Division of Human Resource Management. His most recent employment was as CEO for New Horizons Systems of Columbia, a multi-service consortium for personnel management training and development of customized software applications.
Rev. Neal was in his 24th year in the SC House of Representative serving District 70. In the House he served as First Vice Chairman of the Medical, Military and Municipal Affairs committee which is responsible for legislation affecting the Department of Social Services, Department of Corrections, Mental Health and Mental Retardation. He was past Vice-Chairman of the House Task Force for Consumer Finance Reform and past Vice-Chairman of the House Task Force for Welfare Reform.
Rev. Neal was currently serving on the Ways and Means Committee, the Education Oversight Committee, Rules Committee and was past chairman of the SC Legislative Black Caucus. He served for 15 years as the Assistant Democratic Leader for the South Carolina House of Representatives. Throughout his career, Rev. Neal has sponsored numerous pieces of legislation for improving the quality of life for all people and continued his battle to end racial profiling in SC. He was responsible for the introduction and passage of South Carolina’s first anti-racial profiling legislation that became law in the 2005 session.
Rev. Neal’s numerous affiliations include membership in the following: NAACP, Moving Forward Community Group, Lower Richland Water Authority and the Lower Richland Community Council. Also the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., past board member of South Carolina Fair Share Inc., and First Union Bank Community and First Union Bank Community Reinvestment Act Advisory Board. He was founder of the Area Communities in Economic Development, a non-profit corporation He was also Chairman of the Citizens for Hopkins Neighborhood Associations, Co-Founder of SC Environmental Watch Network, past board member of the Funds for Southern Communities, a philanthropic foundation. Other memberships include; Governor Hodges’s Transition Task Force, the Governor’s Nuclear Waste Task Force, Co-Chair of the South Carolina Progressive Network, a statewide grass roots organization. Rev Neal was serving as a board member for “AAEJAN” (The African American Environmental Action Network, a Southern Regional Environmental Rights organization and board member of Carolina Peace Center as well as ReGenisis Community Development Corporation, Chester, SC.
Reverend Neal was a “preacher of the gospel” serving as Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Chester, SC. He served Calvary as the Assistant Pastor during the pastorate of his father, the late Rev. C. R. Neal, Sr. Under his leadership, Calvary was blessed with increased membership, establishment of a Youth Ministry, Food Bank an Outreach Ministry and a very successful building and renovation program. He has always led his Church by example guided by the Holy Spirit in love and holiness.
Reverend Joseph H. Neal was loved and admired by many. His rich and blessed legacy will be cherished by his family and friends Fond memories shall always be lovingly remembered by his siblings, Dr. Green B. Neal, Sr., Columbia, SC and Wilma Neal Garren (Brent), South Orange NJ. He was predeceased by his brother, Choatte R. Neal, Jr. (Loretta), Hopkins SC
Additionally, he leaves his nieces and nephews who each adored him in a special way. They include LaVerne (Samuel) Smith, Tiffany Neal, Shawanda Neal, Akiyah Sumter, Reginald Neal, Green B. Neal, II, and Marcus (Marcella) Neal. Two grand-nephews of the home James Christopher Woods and Joseph Smith. He was predeceased by his nephew Christopher Neal.
Finally, he will be sorely missed by the members and friends of Calvary Baptist Church and the entire Chester SC community, as well as his District 70 constituents.
A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, February 19th at Calvary Baptist Church, 130 Walnut Street in Chester, SC. It will commence at 2:30 PM.
Funeral services will be held at 1 PM Monday, February 20th at First Nazareth Baptist Church, 2351 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29204.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the following:
1. The South Carolina Progressive Network Education Fund. Donations can be made online at their secure site at www.scpronet.com/donate or by calling the Network’s office at 803-808-3384.
2. The Joseph H. Neal Scholarship Fund, c/o Calvary Baptist Church, Post Office Box 1206, Chester, SC 29706
Service was entrusted to Christopher King Funeral Home in Chester, SC
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