More detail on this person: Neal Gordon Beard, 61, died suddenly on April 14, 2009 in Vancouver,
Washington. His passing is a great loss to friends and family.
Neal was born December 31, 1947 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the son of Harley E. Beard and Berniece S. Menze. He was baptized into the Christian faith at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. He moved to Bellevue with his family in 1957. He was confirmed in his faith in 1962 at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Bellevue. Neal was a member of the Boy Scouts and an active participant in the Explorer Scout Search and Rescue program. He graduated from Sammamish High School in 1966 and attended Bellevue Community College before enlisting in the United States Army July 24, 1967.
Neal earned his rotary pilot's wings and was commissioned a Warrant Officer on April 26, 1968. During his Army service, Neal had two combat tours as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, serving with the 176th Aviation Company with the Americal Division, F Troop (Air) of the 4th Cavalry, HHC 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) and the 120th Assault Helicopter Company. He was decorated for heroism with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star. He was also awarded the Bronze Star and 16 Air Medals. Following his separation from active service, Neal flew helicopters in the Army Reserve with the 92nd Aviation Company.
Neal returned to Seattle in 1973 and settled in Kirkland and then Bellevue. He worked for Bethlehem Steel before becoming a letter carrier for the U. S.
Postal Service on Mercer Island, retiring in 1992. He later worked for the Icom Company in Bellevue and for Werner Trucking as a truck driver, moving to Kettle Falls, returning to Bellevue in 2004. He moved to Vancouver to work for Key Trucking. He was an avid online gamer, participated in Civil War reenactments and loved to ride his Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Neal was a member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Harley Owners Group. He was a member of the committee that worked for the establishment of Tahoma National Cemetery. He was preceded in death by his parents and two grandchildren. He leaves to mourn one sister, Nikki Martin of Mt. Angel, OR; two brothers, Gary of Bellevue and Scott of Indian Trail, NC; a son, Neal E.
Beard; a daughter, Sarah Beard; a grandson, Jesse Beard; three nephews and two nieces. A graveside memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 8, 2009, at Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600 240th St., Kent, WA.
The family suggests remembrances to VFW Post 2995, 4330 148th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA. 98008.
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
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Date posted on this site: 03/05/2019
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