Capt. Charles R.R. “Charlie” Neale, 90, of Vienna, W.Va., died July 11 after a short illness. Capt. Neale was born and raised on the family farm along the Ohio River above Parkersburg, W.Va. Following his service with the 82nd Airborne Infantry Division of the U.S. Army he returned to farming and working for the Parkersburg News & Sentinel as a district manager.
In the 1960s he purchased Joe S Towing Company of Parkersburg, consisting of the 330 hp. towboat David Jones and a ferry flat, primarily to have a means of getting his farming equipment to and from Neale Island. Throughout the years the Neale family, with their reputation for dedicated personal service grew this into present day Neale Marine Transportation. The 1,800 hp. Mister Charlie Neale, built in 1998 by Marine Builders, is named in his honor.
Capt. Charlie was well known and respected throughout the inland river system, which he had widely navigated. One of his most memorable trips was assisting the stricken steamer Delta Queen in the early 1990s from Marietta, Ohio, to Louisville, Ky., in which he commanded two towboats added alongside to keep the steamboat safe and on schedule. Additionally, he captained a vessel that transported the 27-foot-diameter primary mirror for the Subaru Telescope from Pittsburgh, Pa., to New Orleans, La.; the mirror was transloaded onto a ship in New Orleans and now provides images from atop the summit of Maunakea, Hawaii.
He was a past president of the Huntington Propeller Club.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Dianne Neale, son Capt. Rick (Carole) Neale, daughter Jane Alatorre (John), and grandchildren Capt. C.R. Neale (Ramsey), Austin Alatorre and Emmalee Alatorre.
Caption for photo: Three generations of Neales in 2007 photo: Capt. Charlie Neale, left, with his son Richard Neale and grandson C.R. Neale. (photo courtesy of C.R. Neale)