Russell Neal, 65, Dept. of Recreation and Parks worker


Russell Neal, who set up games and passed out balloons, lollipops and other treats for the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks, died Monday at the Brighton Manor Nursing Home of complications from diabetes.

Services for Mr. Neal, who was 65 and lived on Duvall Avenue, will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Ames Memorial United Methodist Church, Baker and Carey streets.

He was nicknamed "Ham" because of a childhood fondness for the food.

He worked for the department since the early 1960s, first as a truck driver and then with the Office of Adventures in Fun. He retired about two years ago.

Virginia S. Baker, the director of the office, said that in addition to setting up games and working with children, Mr. Neal was good at recruiting teen-age volunteers.

A member of the Baltimore City Recreation Pioneers Hall of Fame, he had been cited for his work by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Neal sponsored a yearly fair in Sandtown, the West Baltimore neighborhood where he was raised.

He served in the Army in Europe and the Pacific during World War II.

He is survived by two sons, William H. and Steven Neal, both of Baltimore; four daughters, Violetta Neal Leonard of Randallstown, Stephanie Neal of Towson, Janice Maith of Baltimore and Zelda Neal of New York City; two sisters, Martha McCready and Juanita Ross, both of Baltimore; and five grandchildren.

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