Obituary of James Orrin Neal
James Orrin Neal, 87, of Santa Barbara, entered peacefully into God’s Kingdom on December 12th, 2023. He was born May 21, 1936, to Margaret and Clifford Neal in a farmhouse outside Paola, Kansas.
Jim is survived by Linda, his loving wife of 63 years; sister Loretta (Rick – a brother Marine) Spansail; son Kevin (Janine) Neal; daughters Brenda (Arthur) Bradley, Kelley (Steve Hebert) Neal, Sheila, Melissa (Layne) Kannegieter, and Stacie (Kevin) Ayers; grandchildren James, Rebecca, Christopher, Delaney, Taylor, Emily, Nicole, Kieren, Troy, Issie, and Nora; and great-granddaughters Charlotte and McKinley.
Jim attended Santa Barbara High School, where he was an accomplished marksman on the shooting team, winning a championship. Upon graduation, he entered the United States Marine Corps, where he proudly served his country four years. It was during one of his leaves that he met his future wife Linda, fell in love, married her upon his honorable discharge on June 11, 1960, and promptly started a family.
Jim was a man of action, not inclined to spend time indoors, and thus was involved with many activities of that ilk including auto racing, in which he served as a mechanic for his brother; and aviation – he owned several private planes throughout his lifetime. One of his great experiences was briefly piloting an original P-51 Mustang.
Struck with wanderlust, Jim moved his family to Dillon, Montana in 1969. There he was able to combine his love for hunting and fishing with his other passion – Golf. With a family of six children to care for, Jim relocated to Palm Springs, where he became a Golf Course Superintendent and hosted several Bob Hope Classic events with the PGA Tour. Jim moved on to Rolling Hills Country Club on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1980, where he served as Certified Golf Course Superintendent until his retirement in 2001.
With his newly created free time, Jim honed his roping skills and entered multiple Senior Rodeo Roping events, eventually winning a coveted buckle for placing first. He was also able to re-engage with his passion for fishing and hunting, spending the last two decades either in the mountains or with a line on the water.
He was most proud to pass his knowledge on to not just his children, all accomplished hunters and fishers, but also to grandchildren who made multiple trips with him back to the mountains to be regaled by his tales of the woods and assist him in his quest to find who “owned the road.”
Memorial Services will be held Saturday, January 13, 2024 from 2pm-5pm at the Palm Park Beach House, 236 East Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara. His final resting place will be at the Bakersfield National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please support Sarah House Santa Barbara, www.sarahhousesb.com.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Neal , please visit Tribute Store