Phillip John Neal or Phil as he liked to be called was born in 1948 in Broken Hill to Roy and Thelma Neal. He was closely followed by Hellen born in (1951), Michael in (1952), Robyn in (1954), Cheryl in (1955), and Marilyn in (1956).
Phil attended schools in Tibooburra and Broken Hill. It could be said that Phil was not the best academically and would often find ways to get out of class. One of his favourite tactics on Friday's was to cause a ruckus, be kicked out of the class, leave the school and then jump on the mail truck to Tibooburra.
In 1961 Phil's parents separated and later went on to divorce. Phil at this time was just 13 and had to divide his time between study, going to work to help support the family and taking care of his brother and sisters.
Not long after his parent's separation, and due to circumstances beyond his control Phil was taken and placed into foster care with the Rutherford family in Broken Hill and found additional support with help from the Barraclough family. Phil's brother and sisters were placed into the care of a home for children in Sydney.
In 1966 at the age of 18, Phil went to register for the National Services. Because of his flat fleet he was not accepted for service. Around this time Phil's mother Thelma remarried and had 2 other children, Ian and Lance.
Phil had no further contact with his father Roy until later in his life.
In 1969 Phil met Helen and they married in April 1971. They were married at the Broken Hill Catholic Cathedral. Helen was the love of Phil's life and Phil the love of Helen's life.
In 1971 Phil and Helen welcomed their first born Belinda Joy into the family and in 1972 they moved to Whyalla were Phil found work in the mines driving trucks. In September 1973 Kym Marie was born followed by the baby of the family Phillip John Neal JNR in 1976. The family was now complete.
How many people here have played Lotto? Well picture this, in the year 1975 Phil watches the lotto draw and realises that he has won. Why, it's the numbers they play every week. Home he goes, 'Helen we won lotto', oh that's wonderful replied Helen, but I forgot to put our numbers on.
In 1977 they moved back to Broken Hill and purchased the family home in Boughtman St to raise their family.
Phil's working career centred around driving trucks. In 1970 he start working for Radfords (R&R) helping with a few projects. He later left Radfords to pursue other work interests. In his working life he has worked for firms like Hi Speed, BHP, Pasminco mines and Silverton transport. In 1994 he returned to Radfords CMC later BSL and has been there ever since working alongside Steve and Gary.
One memory Phil past on was when he and Steve went out on a job for the RTA up towards Tibooburra. According to Phil rules were there to be broken including the requirement to stay in proper accommodation, they both camped out and completed a 2 week job in 5 days. Phil saw his relationship with Gary and Steve as one of them being part of his extended family and he would do anything for them. This was not a one way street. When Phil became ill Steve and Gary would visit him in hospital and have been a great support to Helen and Phil over the final months.
Phil has followed his children sporting achievements and took great pride in all their sporting endeavours. Phil has also served on the local softball committee and coached the women's D grade to a country championship. In June 1988 Phil accompanied Kym to America for 28 days while she played softball. One of the highlights according to Kym was in Fort Collins with the team staying at the Marriott Hotel. One night the fire alarm went off and the entire hotel had to be evacuated. At the evacuation point Phil could not be found. Kym upset and worried sort help from the hotel staff. Phil was finally found sitting at the bar drinking with some new found friends.
Phil has been involved with the South Football Club committee and ran the bar for a couple of years. Phil was always a regular at the AFL every weekend cheering Phil Jnr on. For those who are not aware Phil was a very big Crows supporter.
Phil and Helen became grandparents for the first time in June 2000 when their eldest Belinda gave birth to Lachlan, in Adelaide. Lachlan was followed by 5 other grandchildren; Kym gave birth to Connor, 2001, Ryan 2003 and Jorja in 2006.
Not to be outdone Phil Jnr added Lydia, 2003 and Crawford 2009.
Phil was a very proud grandfather (Pop) and loved all his grandchildren with all his heart.
Phil hadn't seen his father since they were separated in 1961. So in 1986 he went looking and found Roy living in Victoria. In 1987 Roy was eventually convinced to come and live with Phil and Helen, however, this was short lived when Roy passed away whilst in the process of moving to Broken Hill. He was with family when he passed.
Phil has always been a kind and loving person with lots of friends. One relationship Phil has always wanted was to be reunited with his siblings. Phil spent many years making phone calls and tracking down leads trying to reunite with his brother and sisters. Perseverance paid off and he tracked them down, met with each, and spent time getting to know them and meeting their families. He loved the time spent with his sisters.
Today I have been given the honour of standing here before you and presenting on behalf of the family an overview Phil's life from birth to today.
There are so many things to say about this man and many things have been left unsaid. If time would allow, many of you could, if asked come up here and tell us of a time that you spent with Phil, either a funny story, a time he help you, made you laugh or was just there when you needed him.
If, during this brief period that we have had together remembered a special time that you spent with this remarkable man then he will live with you forever.
Phil's love for Helen was absolute and on their 40th wedding anniversary in his speech he said I love you as much now as I did when I first met you.
I would like to leave you with this from Phil:
THE PURPOSE OF MY LIFE IS BEING A FATHER TO MY CHILDREN AND
BEING A HUSBAND TO MY WIFE
Phil, thank you for your friendship, council and love, Rest In Peace.