Obituary of Neal Nelson Viar
Captain Neal Nelson Viar, 85, passed away peacefully on January 14, 2024.
Neal was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on April 16, 1938. He was the oldest child of the late Earl Rudolph and Ruth Gilliam Viar, Lynchburg Foundry Plant Manager and a mother who taught at Brookville High School. From a very early age, he had a passion and drive for hard work and entrepreneurship. Growing up, he had various jobs and activities including working on the foundry assembly line, gardening with his grandfather, and helping his mom while his dad worked 7 days a week. This was the precipice of developing his outstanding work ethic that he instilled in his family.
Neal graduated from E.C. Glass High School in 1956 and left Lynchburg for Blacksburg where he attended what was then known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute. While at VPI, Neal joined the Air Force ROTC. During his time at VPI, he was a member of the Arnold Air Society, the Pershing Rifle, Scabbard and Blade, the American Nuclear Society, Physics Club, Honor Court, and Corp of Cadets. While attending, he also worked at the mess hall and as a butcher in the slaughterhouse. Always one with a curious mind and great intellect, Neal majored in Physics and graduated in 1960. He was proud to be a Hokie.
After graduation from Tech, Neal joined the United States Air Force full-time. There, he was a Communications Officer assigned to duties involving supervision of the implementation, operation and maintenance of Base Communications Centers. This included teletype, cryptographic, data, radio and wire communications. In February 1962, Neal married Ruby after meeting at a wedding where Neal was a groomsman and Ruby was the organist. Neal fondly recalled their meeting and courtship, saying they “fell in love very fast.” After getting married, they enjoyed the life of a military family. His time in the Air Force led to moves all over, from Long Island, New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico. His final rank was Captain.
After his time in the Air Force, Neal and Ruby moved to West Lafayette, Indiana where he attended Purdue University and graduated with his MBA in Industrial Administration in 1966. Upon graduation, Neal set off on a life of entrepreneurship that took him from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ultimately settling back home in Lynchburg in 1977.
Upon returning to Lynchburg to be near family, he became a proud self-starter, always trusting God and taking a leap of faith in every venture. Some of his greatest professional successes were establishing companies such as Burns and Wray, Key-Tech, Inc., and Mid-State Construction, where his wife Ruby worked alongside him. Neal was always learning and needed to use his mind, so he also spent some time as a tax preparer, real estate broker, and tutor for Bedford County Homebound Students in middle and high school, which he loved.
Since moving to Lynchburg, he and his family began attending Timberlake United Methodist Church. Neal was an active member of the church, being part of the PPR Committee, holding the position of trustee, ushering, and regularly attending services and special events. Ruby was the church organist for over 30 years at Timberlake. Neal could always be found as the last one sitting in the same pew in the sanctuary, listening to Ruby play the postlude on the organ. He was her biggest fan and wouldn’t move until the last note was played.
After losing his soulmate, Ruby, after 55 years, he semi-retired. You could find Neal eating breakfast at Koffee Kup or on the golf course with friends. Neal’s passion over all else was family though. He loved nothing more than offering his wisdom and advice to his children and grandchildren... “Take the road less traveled”; “The only failures in life are not trying at all”; “Adversity builds character”; and “Worry is the opposite of faith”…were all some of his mantras. He was the biggest motivator to his grandchildren with support, love, and guidance. He rarely missed an opportunity to show them how much he loved them by being present in daily life.
Neal, or “Bubba” if you’re his grandchild, is survived by his four children of whom he loved so very much: Randy (Marion) of Buford, Georgia; Cris (Gina) of Lynchburg; Jennifer Reynolds of Lynchburg; and Jodi (Vince) of Lynchburg; fourteen grandchildren: Savannah, Jessica (John), Neal, Abigail, Josh (Sierrah), Morgan (Kassidy), David (Abbie), Madison (Trey), Becca, Riley, Michael, Arden, Lila and Charlotte; two great-grandchildren: Walker and Sutton; his two siblings, Elizabeth Moore (David) of Richmond and Doug (Val) of Lynchburg, as well as numerous in-laws, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, loved ones and friends.
The memorial service will be at Timberlake Church Thursday, January 18 at 6 pm including a gathering in the Family Life Center immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in his name to Timberlake Church, 21649 Timberlake Road, Lynchburg, VA, or Patrick Henry’s Family Services 1621 Enterprise Drive, Lynchburg, VA 24502.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Neal Viar, please visit Tribute Store