‘Chip’ Harry Smith Neal Jr.


It is with a heavy heart that we let our communities know “Chip” Harry Smith Neal Jr. passed away on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, in Green Valley, Ariz. Chip was with his wife Rada and, as she describes, “He went peacefully.” He was 72 years old at his time of death, caused by metastatic mesothelioma. 

Chip was born May 22, 1951, in Oakland, Calif., to Harry Smith Neal and Adamay Dawson and has two younger brothers, Al and Mike. He is survived by his mother, Adamay; his brothers, Al and Mike; his wife, Rada; and his three children, Justin Neal and wife Charlotte, Jordan Neal and wife Alyssa, and Sasha Stair and husband Matt; and his two grandchildren, Carter and Reese Neal.

Chip’s father served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam across multiple branches in the military. As a result, their family moved frequently, but California is where Chip called home, being both born in state and graduating in San Diego from Mar Vista High School. He owned Neal Construction, specializing in bathroom and kitchen remodel work, but, truly, some of his greatest creations were woodworking pieces he built, from cedar chests to furniture, jewelry boxes, cutting boards and so much more. His artistry was a gift he shared with us all and something that he will be remembered by.

In his younger years he was known for being athletic, charming and kind-hearted. He loved to surf and spent many afternoons catching waves in Imperial Beach. He set records in high school, including running 40 yards in 4.4 seconds, and he was a talented football player, mostly playing halfback. He could run, he could catch, he could block, and he could win. 

After living in San Diego for more than 30 years, he and his wife, Rada, moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo., where he designed and built from the ground up a gorgeous custom home with panoramic views of the San Juan mountains and a great room that was filled with his favorite sound — his wife playing her pianos. They both have fond memories of their time and the community in that special town.

They later moved back to San Diego for a time and ultimately landed in a lovely community, Quail Creek, in Green Valley, Ariz. 

There will be a celebration of life to honor Chip on June 8, 2024, in La Jolla, Calif. For anyone interested in attending, please contact Sasha Stair by phone or email: (619) 847-3369, sasha@sashastair.com.