As I write this Bio, I am sitting with my Mother in Peachtree Hospice at Sparks Hospital. I finally stopped long enough to write a few lines. First, I want to give Dickie Cowan credit for taking on the class website. He is doing such a great job, we all should be very proud of him and his work. He is very dedicated.
After graduation I went to work in the office of the Fort Smith Vehicle Company for a few months, and then changed to a western shirt manufacturing company where I stayed for about 4 years; even made a few western shirts on my own. I married a cowboy, John Greb, had a daughter, divorced after almost ten years, and lived on my own for about 10 more years.
During that time I had changed jobs from a sewing factory to a fabricating steel company, where I worked for 14 years. Joined a national organization, NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) of which I am still a member. Held all offices in the Fort Smith Chapter and still remain a member and current President.
During that 14 year time I met and later married (1978) a Van Buren Pointer, Grey A. (Andy) Neal, Jr. We have now been married 30 years. Incidentally we spent our 30th Anniversary at his class reunion this past July. We hosted around 80 people for one night of that event. Large groups are always welcome at our house. We have hosted many events.
In 1983 we started our own business in the construction industry. Andy is a graduate of U of A, Fayetteville with an Engineering Degree. We built the home we still live in as our first project in 1978, and then got married in the house. Since then we have expanded to Commercial and Industrial building projects. We are both still working at our business.
In addition to that job, I also worked in a fabricating machine sales business as office manager and later as Vice President until it closed in 2006. After 31 years I am still working there as Office Manager for the several companies that were started by my employer after I was hired.
Our daughter, Jennifer is married to a Fort Smith fireman and they have three children, Breck, Brush & Brinn. We call them the “3 B’s”. Jennifer has a singing career so we get to baby sit quite often as they live close by.
In my spare time, I travel with my NAWIC organization. I volunteer for several groups; Alzheimer’s Leadership Council, Alzheimer’s Tinsel & Tails New Years Eve Event, St. Edward Auxiliary, Mercy Celebrity Classic, Birdies for Babies Golf Tournament (benefit for NICU unit at St Edward) St. Edward Dinner Dance Committee, and I am currently serving on St Edward Foundation Board, and as an Elder of my church, First Presbyterian, Van Buren. I am also a member of the Leadership Crawford County Class of 2007, Van Buren Chapter of PEO, Cedars Country Club, Van Buren Center for Art & Education, and The Fort Smith Art Center.
My hobbies include Golf, Ballroom Dance, and Attending Concerts, especially those my daughter is performing in, and attending the grandchildren’s activities.
That’s my Life – Never left the Fort Smith Van Buren area except to travel. As Ray Baker says – “Life is Worth Living in Fort Smith, Arkansas” and as the Van Buren Chamber puts it, “Good Things are Happening in Van Buren”.
Hope to see each of you at the Reunion next month.
W. Joann "Smith" Neal - 2008