OXFORD — Ben Jones Neal, 92, of Oxford, North Carolina, passed at home surrounded by his family as they sang his favorite hymns on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. He was born in Caswell County, North Carolina, on June 24, 1928, to his now predeceased parents, Robert Lee Neal and Amy Garrett Neal.
Ben moved to the Oak Hill community shortly after graduating from N.C. State University with an agriculture degree. He taught at Oak Hill School for 10 years. While a teacher, he met Ruth Amis Norwood on a blind double date. They were married shortly after.
Ben was a lifelong farmer who loved working outdoors. He took great pleasure in tending his large yard and loved walking the farm. He was always ready to lend a helping hand and always shared the bounty from his garden.
Ben had a generous spirit, a mischievous grin, a great sense of humor, and loved talking to everyone he met. He wanted everyone to feel welcome no matter how young or old they were. Ben also loved to dance and would take Ruth and the girls to square dances whenever possible.
Ben loved Jesus, his family, church (Amis Chapel Baptist), his community, the Masons and Gideons International. He spent many Saturdays witnessing to the inmates at Butner prison and also visiting the sick and those in nursing homes. As a founding member of the Mountain Creek Development Association, he was a driving force in organizing and growing the community.
Mr. Neal is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ruth Norward Neal; three daughters Lillian Neal Aaron (Joe) of Austin, Texas; Elizabeth Neal Swann of Asheville, North Carolina; Benjie Neal Nelson (Den) of Guerneville, California; five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and his sister, Lelia Neal Essic of Mocksville, North Carolina.
The family will receive guests by way of a drive-thru visitation that will be held on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Gentry-Newell & Vaughan Funeral Home. Please plan to enter the funeral home parking lot from Broad Street and exit onto College Street.
Funeral services will be held in the front yard of Amis Chapel Church, Saturday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m. Please wear a mask and bring a lawn chair. For those who would like to view the recorded service, please visit www.GNVFuneralHome.com, select Ben’s obituary and then follow the posted link. The recorded service will be posted to the webpage Saturday evening. Burial will take place in the Amis Chapel Baptist Church Cemetery.