He was born Sept. 28, 1938, in Oran, to Frank and Estelle Fowler Neal.
He attended Oran public schools and graduated from Oran High School in 1956. After high school, he was employed by St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad Co. as an agent-telegrapher, a position he held until 1964 when he became employed by the U.S. Postal Service.
In 1976, he began a career in real estate sales and development, and has been self-employed in his business ever since. He served as state president of the Missouri Association of Realtors in 1997-1998, and as a director of the National Association of Realtors. He was elected Realtor Associate of the Year in 1981 and Realtor of the Year in 1999, making him the only realtor to receive both awards.
He served in the United States Army, 8th Army Headquarters in Korea from 1958 to 1960 as MOS 716 personnel specialist.
He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He was a manager of a Little League baseball team, served as cub master of a Cub Scout Pack, unit commissioner of Okeechobee Boy Scout Council, a member of Toastmasters International, Elks Lodge, Eagles Aerie, president of Southeast Missouri Homebuilders Association, treasurer of Nine-County Southeast Missouri Chapter of March of Dimes and a member of The Clan Macneil Association of America.
Fred and his wife Cleda are members of Trinity United Methodist in Oran, where he served as financial secretary, treasurer and chairman of the administrative board.
Fred became a master mason in the Morley Lodge No. 84 in 1961 where he served as worshipful master in 1969. In 1986, he became a dual member of Sikeston Lodge No. 310 where he served as worshipful master during 1988 and 1989. During 1994 and 1995, he served as district deputy grand master of the 50th Masonic District. He holds a subdivision card as an authorized instructor.
He was a member of Kingsway Chapter No. 144, Royal Arch Masons and served as high priest in 1977, 1978 and 1999. He was appointed district deputy grand high priest of Region 6B of Missouri in 1989-1991. He became a member of the Order of High Priesthood in 1977.
In Cryptic Masonry, he was a member of El Camino Council No. 52. Fred served as illustrious master 1977, 1988 and 1989. In 1977 he became a member of the Order of Silver Trowel and is grand representative to the Grand Council of Alaska. On May 2, 1997, Fred was installed as grand master of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of the State of Missouri. During the triennial period of 2003 to 2005, he served as regional deputy general grand master of the South Central Region of Cryptic Masons International.
In Chivalric Masonry, he was a member of Cape Girardeau Commandery No. 55 Knights Templar and served as eminent commander in 1991. He also was a member of Past Commanders Association of the State of Missouri; a member of the Society of Rosicrucian Order; a member of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon, Province of the United States of America; a member of the Red Cross of Constantine; and served as puissant sovereign of the St. Louis Conclave in 2004.
In 1991, Fred was made a member of the Knight York Cross of Honor in Missouri Priory No. 17. He received his Knight York Grand Cross of Honor with his first quadrant after his year as illustrious grand master.
He was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, Valley of St. Louis, Orient of Missouri. He was a member of Capaha Scottish Rite Club in Cape Girardeau. In 1999, he was inducted into the Royal Order of Scotland in Cincinnati.
Other masonic memberships: member of Moolah Temple, St. Louis; received a lifetime appointment as ambassador of Moolah Temple in 1979; as potentate's aid; president of SEMO Shrine Club in Sikeston, Mo., in 1976; past monarch of ALSEMO Grotto, Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm; past sovereign master of Olin S. McDaniel Council No. 259 in 1990, Allied Masonic degrees, and served as puissant sovereign in 1992; member of Tralee Council No. 41, Knight Masons, in Millington, Tenn.; Grand Order of Sword of Bunker Hill, Andrew Jackson Order No. 43, Jackson; member of Bruce Harmon Hunt York Rite College of Missouri, and received the Order of the Purple Cross; Missouri Lodge of Research; member of Columbia Preceptory No. VIII, Yeoman of York, Columbia, Mo.; and member of Tall Cedars of Lebanon, Mark Twain Forest of Missouri.
Survivors include his wife, Cleda Curtis-Neal; two sons, Jeff (Jolene) Neal of Topeka, Kan., and Chris (Lisa) Neal of Ellisville, Mo.; a daughter, Suzanne (Tom) Keiser of Kirkwood, Mo.; four grandchildren, Matthew and Courtney Neal of Ellisville and Holly and Will Keiser of Kirkwood; a sister, Eileen Wondel Varble of Chaffee, Mo.; four nieces; and four nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Helen; and two brothers, Jerry and Paul.
Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Trinity United Methodist Church in Oran.
The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the church, with the Rev. Stan Hargis officiating. Interment will be in the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery at Bloomfield, Mo.
In lieu of flowers, Fred requested that memorial contributions be made to Southeast Hospice, 10 Doctors' Park, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703.
Amick-Burnett Funeral Chapel in Chaffee is in charge of arrangements.