Former President Bernard Neal Passes

June 1, 2016 05:15 PM
Read an extensive story by
the Rome News-Tribune

Here's his information in the Rome-Floyd Sports Hall of Fame

Former USTA Southern and USTA Georgia President Bernard Neeson Neal, Jr., passed away in his home on May 22, 2016. He was 89.

One of Bernard's passions was tennis. Bernard was asked to use his business acumen to help USTA Georgia  and he served as President of the USTA Georgia and President of the Coosa Valley Tennis Association. He was elected President of USTA Southern in 1990 and served one year. During his tenure, Bernard helped bring the Federation Cup to Atlanta along with several other prestige events and tournaments. He was also actively involved in developing Rome as a center for tennis for Rome and Georgia juniors over the last 30 years. In 1993, Bernard received the Rome-Floyd County Sports Hall of Fame Award for meritorious service. Bernard was inducted into the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001 for a lifetime of service. He will be greatly missed.

Bernard was born January 4, 1927 in Atlanta, Georgia. Bernard graduated from Episcopal High School in 1944 and attended Georgia Tech for one year before joining the Navy in 1945. After being honorably discharged, he attended Emory University where he earned a Bachelor degree in Business Administration in 1950. After graduation, Bernard moved to Rome, Ga., to begin work at Rome Hardware Company. He eventually purchased Rome Hardware Company and started several businesses such as Builder's Hardware, Alarm Systems, Access Systems, and other projects.

Bernard thought he was going to be an Engineer, changed his mind to become a Doctor, and ended up getting a Business Degree where he found his true calling. Bernard loved to negotiate and was always involved in a wide range of deals at any given time. However, his best negotiation was convincing Elizabeth Duffy Kennard to marry him in 1957, in June, at the hottest time in the year in New Orleans, and then move back with him to Rome. They were married for 56 years until her passing in 2014. Bernard is survived by his two children: John Kennard Neal and Elizabeth Neal Allen (Lisa), their spouses: Joy Jones Neal and Clay Patrick Allen, and five grandchildren: Elizabeth Tyler Allen, Spencer Patrick Allen, Neal Frazer Allen, Frances Carter Neal and John Kennard Neal, Jr.

Bernard loved to dance, laugh, fly airplanes (much to his wife's concern), and was raised on the values of a Southern Gentleman. Bernard was a man of strong opinions, but most importantly he was a man with strong friendships that lasted throughout his life. He often organized gatherings in Atlanta, Panama City, Lake Mont, Highlands N.C. and Rome. He treasured these friends and told stories to his children about his time playing the trumpet with the Junior Georgians for free, the PDC Literary Group that never read a book, or hanging out with a group that bought a ski boat called the Prince and dubbed themselves the Paupers as a result. 

Bernard was a member of the St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Rotary International, the Piedmont Driving Club, the Chi Phi Fraternity, and the Society of Colonial Warriors. He believed strongly in giving back to the community and he held leadership positions in numerous civic and social organizations both in Atlanta and Rome including serving on the Board of Visitors for Emory University, the Board of Directors for the Rome YMCA, the Community Concert Club, and was a former president of the Rome Rotary Club, the Rome Arts Council, the Rome Heritage Foundation, and a former Chairman of the Rome Area History Museum. In 1999, Bernard was recognized for his years of service to Rome with the Heart of the Community award. 

Rome memorial services will be held at St. Peter's Episcopal Church at 2 p.m. on Wednesday June 1, 2016. There will be a visitation/reception following the service at the Neal Family home in Rome. Atlanta memorial services will be held at Patterson's Funeral Home, Atlanta, Georgia on Spring Street at 4 p.m. on Thursday June 2, 2016. Visitation will be held at Patterson's preceding the service from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations either to the Georgia Tennis Foundation, 116 Marble Mill Rd NW, Marietta, GA 30060, or to the Coosa Valley Tennis Association at P.O. Box 1524, Rome, GA 30162.

 

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