Neal Eugene Vance of Mt. Pleasant, Utah passed away in the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 26 at the age of 77 with his daughter, Carly, lying by his side playing some of his favorite tunes for him.
For over 40 years, Neal astonished the health personnel at the Veterans Affairs Hospital with his incredible will to live. Although he survived through decades of beating the odds, he died of complications from previous medical ailments.
Neal was a man of infinite knowledge, which he would gladly share through intelligent conversation and witty one-liners. He studied and valued history, and he regularly identified direct parallels in relation to current events.
He had a great appreciation for all kinds of music, and he cherished his vinyl record collection; he especially loved sharing it with others. Boogie Woogie Piano and Jerry Lee Lewis were his favorites overall, inspiring the ‘Neal Shuffle’ as those of us who knew him well got to witness in some of his happiest times. He could play a mean kazoo solo when the mood struck and would be sure to warm up before performing a whistling serenade for his wife, Suzie. Neal was a music-loving man.
“Ern’s Roost” was Neal’s home-away-from-home and there was nowhere else that he would rather spend his time. The memories shared there were some of the best in his life. Some of the other things that brought Neal great joy throughout his life were homegrown tomatoes, raising pigs, the San Rafael Swell, hitting balls at the driving range, watching his favorite team – the Washington Redskins, and riding his electric trike in the 4th of July parade with his grandson, Kole.
In addition to raising pigs, Neal was a roofer for many years. He had an incredible work ethic and went out of his way to help others have a stable roof over their heads. He was a quality craftsman, always willing to put the needs of others above his own. Neal also enjoyed the time that he spent working at the Sinclair in Mt. Pleasant, as it allowed him to better know the people in his community.
Neal recognized the good in people and was willing to befriend anyone whose heart was in the right place. Perhaps this is why he had such a menagerie of great friends throughout his life. He loved his friends as if they were his family. He also loved his family infinitely. Neal had so much to be proud of, but he believed his daughter Carly was undeniably the greatest work he ever accomplished. Everyone who ever spent time with them knew that Neal and Suzie were an amazing team who together created a beautiful life full of adventure, friendship and a deep love and connection to one another and to those they’ve loved along the way.
Neal is survived by, and will forever be celebrated by, Suzie (Peterson) Vance, the love of his life and his wife of 44 years; his “Little Gal” Carly (Vance) Gasser; his son-in-law, whom he respected deeply, Wade Gasser; and his grandchildren, who he “loves more than anything in the world,” Kole Vance Gasser and Ivy Lou Gasser. Glorious memories of Neal will continue to be shared fondly by countless friends and extended family. He is so very loved.
Neal was a United States Marine, and he loved and believed in his country. He will be buried at the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery. A small interment with military honors will take place there for his family. A separate memorial will take place for friends and family at a later date.