Neal CreightonNovember 7th, 2020
CREIGHTON Neal Creighton, age 90, former Westminster College Interim President, passed away on September 15, 2020. Neal was born on July 11, 1930, at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla. He grew up primarily in Chapel Hill, N.C., and graduated from Chapel Hill High School. He then attended Sullivan's Preparatory School in Washington, D.C. In 1953, Neal graduated from West Point, where he became an NCAA gymnast, competing primarily in the floor exercise. After graduation from West Point, Neal married the love of his life, Joan Hicks, in 1958 in Louisville, Ky. He then attended the University of Madrid, Spain, and received an MA in foreign languages from Middlebury College in Vermont. From 1960 to 1963, Neal served on the faculty at the United States Military Academy, first as an instructor and later as an assistant professor of Spanish. Neal and Joan welcomed a daughter, Linda, while stationed at West Point. They later welcomed another daughter, Lisa, and a son, Neal, while serving in Panama. Following commissioning as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation from West Point, Neal served 31 years in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of Major General. He commanded units from platoon to division, including an armored cavalry squadron in Vietnam in 1968 and the First Infantry Division at Fort Riley from 1982 to 1984. Other assignments included Military Assistant, Office of the Secretary of the Army; Deputy Director of Operations and Readiness on the Army Staff; Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior U.S. Officer at Headquarters, Allied Forces, Central Europe; and Director of the Inter-American Region in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. Neal received numerous military decorations, including seven for valor, one of which was the Silver Star. In 2005, the USMA Association of Gradates designated him a Distinguished Graduate. From 1986 to 1999, Neal was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation in Chicago. From 1999 to 2000, Neal served as Interim President of Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., where he became an Honorary Board Trustee. At Westminster, Neal ushered in an era of West Point officers in leadership positions at the college. During his interim presidency, he was instrumental in developing the structure for the most successful capital campaign the college has ever witnessed. He also is remembered at Westminster for the careful attention he paid to the institution's rich history while carefully positioning the college for the future. From October 1, 2001, to September 30, 2002, Neal served as the Executive Director of The Liberty Memorial Project in Kansas City, Mo. Neal then served as the first campaign director of the fundraising effort to build the National Museum of the United States Army, which is scheduled to open in 2020. During his lifetime, Neal also served on a number of boards of directors, including the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations, National Strategy Forum, Newspaper Association of America Foundation, and Lake Shore Bank. Neal was a great patriot and leader of soldiers, but most of all, he was a beloved husband and a father. He lived his life loving his family and passed with great memories and no unfulfilled dreams. Funeral services were provided by McGilley Memorial Chapel, Kansas City.