Brig. Gen. Thomas F. McNeal dies

September 11, 1990

Services for retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Thomas F. McNeal, an engineer for the Bethlehem Steel Corp., will be held at 11 a.m. today at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1316 Park Ave.

General McNeal, who was 84 and lived on Wickford Road, died last Wednesday after a short illness at a hospital in Blue Hill, Maine, near his summer home at Sedgewick, Maine.

He retired in 1963 as commander of the 1st Brigade of the 29th Division. He had kept basically the same post with different titles through two reorganizations since he was named commander of the 175th Infantry Regiment, the old 5th Regiment, in 1958.

He retired as a colonel and later was honored by being named a brevet brigadier general.

Born in Baltimore, he was a 1923 graduate of the Boys' Latin School and a 1927 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University.

Shortly after graduation, he went to work at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point mills and retired as a metallurgical engineer in 1970.

He also began his military career shortly after graduation, becoming an officer in the Army Reserve and later in the National Guard.

When the Guard was federalized at the start of World War II, he was assigned to other units and saw action with the 38th Infantry Division in the Pacific in New Guinea and the Philippines. After eight campaigns, battles and invasions in the Philippines he took command of three islands.

He was separated from active service in 1946 after being treated for tropical diseases.

After serving briefly in the Army Reserve again, he rejoined the National Guard in 1947 and served as a battalion commander and then as executive officer in the 175th regiment before being named its commander.

In Baltimore, he was a member of the Johns Hopkins Club, the St. Andrews Society, L'Hirondelle Club and the Engineers Club. In Maine, he belonged to the Bucks Harbor Yacht Club.

He is survived by his wife, the former Grace Hooper Smith; two daughters, Air Force Lt. Col. Grace H. McNeal of San Antonio and Catherine McNeal Larson, of Alexandria, Va., and a grandson.

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