Neal Eugene Gleason, Lieutenant Commander, USNR (Ret), passed away Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at his home in Beeville, Texas, at the age of 70. Neal was a decorated combat veteran who served in Vietnam and spent 7 years in the U.S. Army flying helicopters, 18 years in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot and flight instructor, and another 14 years as a contract flight simulator instructor. Among his many awards were the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in aerial flight, 32 Air Medals, and the RVN Cross of Gallantry with Palm.
Neal was born on 7 December 1950 in Albuquerque, New Mexico as firstborn to his parents, John Hanners Gleason (now deceased) and Mary Belle Knight Gleason who survives him. When he turned 18, he joined the Army, becoming the first of all eight of the Gleason children to serve their country in the United States Army.
He was predeceased by his sister, Kathryn Gleason, and is survived by his five younger brothers, John, Donald, Kenneth, Richard and Brian, and sister Karen Gleason, all U.S. Army veterans.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Roxann Ransom Gleason of Beeville; four sons, David Aaron Wilcox, Jeremy Forrest Gleason, Christopher Charles Gleason and David Neal (Sara) Gleason; three daughters, Michelle Elaine Martinez, Heather Lanea (T.J.) Greenwell and Tani Nicole Nelson; and 14 grandchildren.
Neal will be inurned with full military honors at a later date at Santa Fe National Cemetery.
“When once you have tasted flight you will always walk the earth with your eyes turned sky-ward, for there you have been and there you will always be.” --Leonardo da Vinci.