Neal went on God’s journey on January 25, 2023, at 5:15 am. Neal C. Franklin, Sr., was born May 7, 1939, in Hunters, Washington to N.Clyde and Beulah Franklin. Neal is survived by two sisters, Helen and Clydene. Neal attended Lind High School, played football and enjoyed drama classes and then transferred to Othello High School where he graduated in 1957. Neal attended aviation school in Spokane and then joined the Navy, yet due to a family emergency he received a hardship discharge and returned home to Washington state. Neal met Gail (Hydorn) in 1958 and married her in 1959. Neal worked in Colville, Washington for a short time and then started his military career in the United States Army in 1961.
Neal was a member of the 11th Air Assault and a founding member of the 1st Air Cavalry Division and participated in the Battle of Ia Drang Valley. After completing tours in Vietnam and Korea, he was instrumental in developing helicopter assault formations, was a Huey helicopter flight instructor and finished his career as a military Air Traffic Controller. Neal retired from the United States Army as a Sergeant First Class in 1981.
Neal is survived by his wife, Gail, whom he was married to for 64 years. Neal is survived by his three living children; son, Neal Jr. and Teresa of Spokane; son, Douglas of Spokane; daughter, Kelly Jo and Jack of St. John. Preceded in death at 2 months old, daughter, Patricia Gail. Neal is survived by 10 grandchildren and 13 greatgrandchildren. Neal will be buried with full military honors in Colville, Washington.
A viewing will be held at 1:00 pm, followed by funeral services at 2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at Hennessey Funeral Home & Crematory, 2203 N Division St, Spokane, Washington. To leave an online condolence to Neal’s family, please visit our website at www.HennesseyFuneralHomes.com.
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