Neal John Eaton passed away at OHSU from a head injury July 21, 2020.
Neal John Eaton was born in Husum, Wash., to Della (Wright) and Eugene Eaton on Jan. 12, 1937. The family lived in the White Salmon, Wash., area until moving to Rufus, Ore., where Neal attended school, later becoming the lone graduate of the class of 1955. He and his brothers slept in the bunkhouse while their sister slept in the house.
After graduation, Neal enlisted in the service in 1957. While serving as a United States Air Force medic in Weisbaden, Germany, he met Bernhilde Preusser. They were married on Nov. 18, 1960. After moving to the states, Neal worked various trucking and construction jobs, until he and Berni moved with their young children John, Bridgette and Anthony, to Rufus in 1968. They lived with his parents in the back of the store and helped with day to day operations. Later, while working as a park ranger, Neal received an award for saving someone from drowning. Neal worked for the Army Corps of Engineers at the John Day Dam for about 20 years. He took early retirement from the Corps and returned to trucking and construction work. An active member of the community, he served as a Boy Scout leader, an EMT, and a school board member. Neal enjoyed learning about most everything, especially self-reliant living and beekeeping. He and Berni were both avid gardeners. They also spent many camping, fishing, and hunting trips with their family. Neal enjoyed children, was a caring uncle, great uncle, and grandfather. He and Berni also raised their grandson Brandon in their home in Rufus.
Neal was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Gayle and Wayne, his sister Elaine, and wife Berni. He is survived by his children John (Suzi) Eaton, Bridgitte Strickland, and Anthony (Kathy) Eaton, and his grandsons Brandon, Alex (Xinyan), Chris, and Neal R. Eaton.
There will be an outdoor service this summer. The family suggests memorial donations to Sherman County Emergency Services or a bee conservation organization of your choice, such as the Honeybee Conservancy.