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Name of Deceased: Neal "Pup" Thomas Calton
Newspaper: The Joplin Globe
Submitters Name: Jody Eggensperger

Obit: Neal Thomas Calton, known as "Pup" to many of his friends, age 62, of  Springfield, Mo., passed away Saturday, April 5, 2008, as a result of a sudden
illness. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, in Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home, 1947 E. Seminole, Springfield. In lieu of flowers,
donations are suggested to the Plaza Theatre in care of Betty Kuhn, 1011 Gulf Street, Lamar, Mo., 64759, to help restore the historic theater on the Square in
Lamar, a place that provided Neal many happy childhood memories of Saturday matinees. Neal was born a true baby-boomer in Lebanon, Mo., on March 16, 1946, to Ward and Edith Calton, who predeceased him. He was the vice-president of engineering at Sunbelt Environmental Services and a retired environmental engineer for the Frisco Railroad, which later became part of Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroads. He was a professional engineer, land surveyor and a diplomat of environmental engineering. He is survived by his wife, Alison; his elder brother, Lynn and Sharla, of Lamar; and five children, Jeremy and Lynn Calton, Columbia, Mo., Josh and Ashley Calton, Springfield, Amy and Kent Miller, of Kidder, Mo., Stuart Thompson, of Key West, Fla., and Philip Thompson, of Springfield. Neal has two grandchildren, Kenna Alison Miller and Jacob Thomas Miller. One child, Craig Leighton (C.L.) Thompson; and stepmother Lillian Calton predeceased him. In 1985, Neal married Alison and took in four new children ages 10 to 16 whom he loved and raised as his own. Neal adjusted quickly from being a bachelor parent to cooking dinner for eight every night. He made the best chocolate chip cookies, Greek meals and he was the only one who could make "Neal" (whose recipe is lost forever). He also made the best french fries on the planet. His son Craig, who could have anything he wanted for his birthday dinner, once requested lobster and Neal's fries. Neal grew up in Lamar, playing basketball, football and baseball until he graduated from Lamar High in 1964. He then attended the University of Missouri, at Columbia, studying civil  engineering and other campus pursuits. He graduated with a BS in civil engineering and more than likely an honorable mention in the other pursuits. He left graduate school when hired by Frisco Railroad and that year he attended the World Series in which the St. Louis Cardinals played. His was an avid fan of the Cardinals and the Missouri Tigers. Like so many others, his favorite player of all-time was Stan Musial. Neal never abandoned his boyhood fantasy of meeting Stan the Man and asking for his autograph, which he finally did at the age of  50. Neal often preferred to listen to games on the radio as he had in his youth.
While surveying with his brother last Saturday, he got to hear the Cardinals win one last time. In January of 2008, he also got to watch his beloved Tigers win the Cotton Bowl to cap a season that included seeing them achieve the No. 1 ranking in the country after soundly beating the best Kansas Jayhawks team in history. Neal also loved the races and for the last 20 years he and his lifelong friends, George and Barbara Nichols, organized an annual Kentucky Derby party for their friends. At one time he and his wife even owned six greyhounds, which they named after their children. He loved the old casinos of Las Vegas. His favorite was The Frontier where he and Alison stayed exclusively until its demolition in 2007. Neal talked of retirement for years, but retired from the railroad and then went to work immediately for Sunbelt Industrial Services with his good friends, Lee and Karen Schaefer. He continued to do land surveying on Saturdays with his brother. No one who knew him ever believed him when he spoke of
retiring. He was famous for his work ethic, which was probably due to the influence of  his father, Ward Calton, who grew up during the Great Depression and also worked on the Frisco Railroad. He was an invaluable member of Sunbelt and will be missed for his sharp and very dry wit, as well as his intelligence and unbelievable dedication. He was always the first to arrive in the office and the last to leave. The last time he saw his son, Jeremy was last week while leaving the building, locking the door and turning on the alarm, just as he did most evenings. He very grudgingly learned to use a computer after decades of reluctance. He attended engineering classes with a slide rule and graduated two years before the invention of the pocket calculator. Although he never missed his slide rule, he fought to the bitter end against the computer. At work, he taped his “secret" passwords to the screen of his computer. His office was never locked. He traveled abroad for the first time at the age of 55, when he and Alison went to Greece on a tour with a group of Mizzou alumni. It was the most vacation time he had ever used in his life. In all of his many travels, he marveled that a poor kid from Lamar would ever have such opportunities. Neal invariably listened to oldies music, news and sports as he drove all over the country during 40 years of work. He always enjoyed driving and could drive for 10 minutes or 10 hours without notice or complaint, even when his family couldn't. He could navigate any city in the world without a map, whether or not he had been there before. Neal was mildly tolerant of the legal profession even though some of his best friends were lawyers and despite 23 happy years of marriage to a paralegal. He probably had mixed feelings when his son decided to leave law school. He liked to ask, “If you were on a deserted island, would you rather be stranded with a lawyer, or an engineer?" He was a notorious skeptic (being from the “Show Me" state) and a sometime cynic, but he took all things with equanimity and always found the best in people. Underneath his phlegmatic exterior lived an eternal optimist who could find the humor in anything, although if you weren't paying attention to his deadpan words, it could be easily missed. Neal was a genuinely good and generous man who never did or said anything that was not a true reflection of his strict moral code. He was never a man for cross words or holding grudges. He helped anyone who ever asked, and many who didn't. Neal was the unyielding tree of his family, with firm roots, sturdy limbs and a gentle canopy with room beneath to shelter the whole world. There will never grow another tree like him.

CRESSWELL, Mrs. Mary C. - was born in Greene Co., E. Tenn. 26 May 1836 and died in Crawford Co., Mo., 5 Feb. 1857. She was married to George Cresswell on 15 June 1854. Left husband, two small children, parents, brothers and sisters. [Source: "Missouri Pioneers County & Genealogical Records," vol. XVIII by Nadine Hodges and Mrs. Howard Woodruff; March 1973; tr. by GT Transcription Team]  Transcribed by Vicki Bryan

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