|Net Abbey home page back to Memorials page|
Our dear friend, Neal Vonada, has passed away. According to his daughter, he had a brain hemorrhage last week (April 25-30), went into a coma and passed peacefully on May 1, 2008.
This is from his daughter, Julie Vonada, written to a radio station on myspace, requesting to play a song for her dad:
**** From Julie Vonada: dated May 2, 2008:
Neal, was 81 years old and last I talked with him, he said he didn't have time to read because there was so much to be done and he felt he didn't have that much time left to do it. Even having been retired for many years, this was no understatement - Neal was very busy with many things, mostly giving and sharing with those around him to try and make this world a better place to live in.
Neal was a highly successful businessman who was written up in a few "whos who" in business type things (can google those locations). A vet who served his country (I think in the Korean war??), he later, after working a stint in a mortuary and/or perhaps owning the mortuary for several years, went on to buy a recreational vehicle dealership and spent a good part of his working years running this dealership. He also for a while, (before the recreational vehicle dealership) owned a phone store...
He was known, even in business for his ethical business practice and personalized handling of his customers. But he was also highly successful in business and highly admired in the business community for his originality and cleverness.
Married twice, he nursed both wives who died of cancer. "I have known what's it's like to watch someone die of cancer," he had told me. He has several kids and grandkids who adore him - he was very active in his kids and grandkids lives.
Many years ago, he decided that when the telephone company stopped the service of telling people the time, that service was needed. Not just for the time which Neal felt was important to keep track of, but many people who were very lonely, would call those services just to hear a human voice however, since the advent of the internet - that had gone the way of the "nickel beer" so to speak and Neal worried about all those people who no longer could call these numbers.
So he bought several 800 numbers and donated the operation of his "Grandpa Time" lines for the next decade or more. He not only reported the time to his callers but interesting snippets of news, humorous items and many other things. As I understand it, his lines were well used and he logged thousands of calls on a weekly basis, bringing light into so many people's lives.
The following is a snippet from an article in the local Seattle newspaper about Neal and his time lines:
Neal also ran an internet group called "Mpositive" which boasted of members in many countries of the world. It was his idea to bring these people together, people of all races and creeds, to find a commonality and to come together in love. It wasn't an easy job but he did accomplish a lot with that group - he had the patience to continue although he often pulled out his hair with it...
A longtime member of MENSA, Neal had served in many positions of office including, I believe LocSec up in his area. Around the house, when not supporting his family (he had a granddaughter who played the viola, he proudly told me and sent me announcements of her concerts), sharing with other businesspeople, running his "Grandpa Time" phone lines and updating his website, he loved gardening.
Neal admired people of faith and attended a church for most of his life although admitted to me that he had never received what we Christians call "the gift of faith". But he was a man of faith and great integrity in his actions and love, and I feel very confident that he is with God in Heaven now through what we Catholics call "Baptism of Desire". (Seeking the truth and to love in the best way one can do). Neal was a man who reached out to everyone in love...
I am writing this from my memories of him because I have not seen many memorials and he was such a wonderful person, I wanted to write something, poor as it may be...
This is a biography of Neal for those who haven't seen it or may have missed it:
One of his projects, a group to build up Mensa:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mofww/ (has public archives)
More of his recent messages, last dated April 18, 2008 on another topic:
This is his famous Grandpa Time website where you can visit and reminisce and enjoy with him:
I truly hope someone keeps up this website but I have saved the pages and will, if his site goes down, put up a replica as best as I can.
I do not know who will keep up his grandpa time phone lines - there are few people as kind and generous as he was, willing to spend the money to maintain these lines as well as the hours on a daily basis to update them.
Dear Neal, I won't say "Goodbye" but only "farewell" my dear friend and hope to see you later on across that Golden Bridge...
with love and sorrow,