Ella E. Neal, 77, of Hollywood, Maryland peacefully departed this life on February 8, 2018 surrounded by family. Ella was born on May 11, 1940 to the late Ella and Mason Hebb in Leonardtown, Maryland. Ella was preceded in death by James W. Neal, her loving husband of 50 years, siblings Jimmy Hebb, Randolph Hebb, and Julia Edgeston. She is survived by her youngest brother William Hebb (Helen) of Hollywood, Maryland. Ella leaves behind her brother in law George Neal (Maria) and sisters in law Alice Showell, Susie Miles and Gloria Neal. Ella’s union with James produced two children, Joyce of Chaptico, Maryland, and Jay (Caroline) of Owings, Maryland, and five grandchildren (Sydney, Rian, Mekhi, Grant and Jada). Aunt “Sissy” as she was affectionately known also leaves behind many nieces and nephews who will miss her wisdom, insight, guidance and compassion.
After receiving her teaching degree from the State Teachers College at Bowie in 1962, graduating 3rd in her class, Ella devoted over 40 years of faithful classroom instruction for St. Mary’s County public schools. She was recognized as teacher of the year in 1971. Her retirement from teaching in 2005 allowed her to more fully pursue her main passion, community service. Ella discovered the after school hours “flow mentoring” program at her alma mater Banneker. There she assisted dozens of student to reach their potential in mathematics. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was another recipient of Ella’s volunteer spirit. Ella was especially fond of one of their charter events, the Christmas angel tree. The onset of fall was Ella’s time to focus on ensuring that hundreds of gifts were ready for delivery to the families of the under privileged. Ella was also a long time member of the Leonardtown Volunteer Rescue Squad Auxiliary. Her hobbies weren’t just limited to community service and charity work. You could often find her tirelessly working on putting together complex jigsaw puzzles, attending events sponsored by the alumni of Banneker High School (class of 1958), enjoying the show “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday nights and supporting her late husband’s love of tractor pulling. Between volunteer commitments Ella was frequently known to assist her grandchildren, ranging in age from 10 to 16, in any number of ventures and fund raising activities. Nothing would be denied in affording her grandchildren the best educational opportunities available.
While we mourn her loss deeply, we are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our humble mother and will forever cherish her memory.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM with prayers recited at 6:00 PM in the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home Leonardtown, MD. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM in St. Aloysius Catholic Church Leonardtown, MD with Father Rory Conley officiating. Interment will follow in Charles Memorial Gardens Leonardtown, MD.