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On Saturday, April 4, 2020, Mark Neal, educator and loving father of three children, passed away at the age of 62 due to leukemia complications.
Mark was born in September of 1957 in Redding, Calif., to Vera and Mike Neal. After graduating from Shasta High School in 1975, he lived for some time in Hawaii and worked as a bike tour guide, leading expeditions down Mt. Haleakala. He later returned to California to pursue his education and career. He received a BA in history, BA in geography, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Chico. He continued his education at Simpson University and obtained his Master of Education degree, as well as a Preliminary Administrative Credential, and an Instructional Technology certificate.
Mark had a passion for education, driven by his own love of lifelong learning. He taught third grade in the Gateway Unified School District from 1989 to 2013, when he retired. He continued to teach part time through the years for Stellar Charter School, Shasta County Office of Education, and finally French Gulch-Whiskeytown School. He truly loved teaching and helping students succeed, even after they had moved on from his classroom. He won several awards throughout his career including, but not limited to, Teacher of the Year.
Photography, eagle-watching, skiing, kayaking, and bicycling were some of Mark’s favorite activities.
He loved to travel and explored the history and art of more than 17 countries and two continents. He combined his love for photography with every activity he participated in.
He was also a technological genius and a huge music enthusiast, playing the drums in several bands for local venues.
Mark was known for his ability to make a life-long friend out of a stranger, his kindness, his adventurous soul, and his unconditional love for his family and life. He was the funniest person any of his friends knew, and they all considered him their best friend.
Mark was preceded in death by his mother, Vera. He is survived by his father Mike, his three children, Alexandra, Lucas, and Julia, his girlfriend Julie, his brother Rick, his sister Sheri Eby, nephew Michael Eby, and many cousins. He was cherished and loved and will always be missed by his family and friends.
There will be a celebration of life in Redding once it is safe for everyone to come together. If you would like to receive future updates regarding his celebration of life, please fill out this form: https://tinyurl.com/vd2f9db.
Remembrances may be made in the form desired by friends.