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Obit: Major General Spurgeon Hart Neel, Jr. US Army-ret

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Obit: Major General Spurgeon Hart Neel, Jr. US Army-ret

Posted: 16 Jul 2004 8:50AM GMT
Classification: Obituary
Edited: 16 Jul 2004 10:41AM GMT
Surnames: Neel
Spurgeon Hart Neel, Jr.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee on Sep. 24, 1919
Died Jun. 6, 2003 and resided in San Antonio, TX.

Service: Tuesday Jun. 10, 2003
Funeral Home: Porter Loring Mortuary
Cemetery: Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery
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Major General Spurgeon H. Neel, Jr. (US Army Ret.), age 83, of San Antonio, TX passed away on June 6, 2003, after a long illness.

General Neel was born September 24, 1919 in Memphis, Tennessee.

He completed his pre-medical studies at Memphis State University and graduated from The University of Tennessee School of Medicine in 1942.

He entered the U.S. Army in 1943 and served as an Army medical officer until 1977. He received a MPH from Harvard University in 1958 and a MSBA from George Washington University in 1965.

General Neel devoted his career to the advancement of Military Aviation Medicine. Known as the "Father of Army Aviation Medicine", he was instrumental in the development of a system for rapid evacuation of the wounded using helicopters that now extends to the civilian community.

He served combat tours during World War II, Korea and twice in Vietnam, paving the way for the “Dustoff” Program for medical evacuation.

General Neel was one of the most highly decorated Army medical officers.

He was inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 1976. General Neel moved to San Antonio in 1973 to become the first Commanding General of the Health Services Command.

After retiring in 1977, he became Professor in Occupational and Aerospace Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

He was Medical Director of USAA and served on the Board of Directors at Eisenhower National Bank for 10 years.

General Neel devoted his recent years to all aspects of the Army Medical Department Museum.

He resided at the Army Residence Community and attended St. David’s Episcopal Church. He was a modest man, known for his personal resolve and can-do attitude with a wonderful dry sense of humor.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Spurgeon Hart Neel and Leola Pearl Neel. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 63 years, Alice T. Neel; His son, Spurgeon H. Neel, III, Atlanta, GA; daughter, Dr. Leah Neel Zartarian and husband Dr. Gary Zartarian, Falmouth, MA; his niece, Diane D. Neel; and her friend, Sheila Smith, Nashville, TN; grandchildren, Patrick Neel, Orlando, FL, Gregory and Geoffrey Zartarian, Falmouth, MA.

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