Dorothy Vander der Jack Neal

Obituary of Dorothy Mae Vander der Jack Neal

Our beautiful wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and friendDorothy Mae Vander der Jack Neal, age 80, was finally released from the terrible grip of Alzheimer’s disease on January 9, 2024, in Peoria, Arizona.  Throughout her life she was a ray of sunshine, a friend to all.  She was a proper lady who lived life with kindness, elegance, and style.

Dorothy was born April 4,1943 in Portland, Oregon. She was a proud Oregonian. She was the first child of Peter Oliver Shuit and Dorothy Mae Vonada. She was named after her beloved mother.  Her paternal grandfather had been orphaned and then adopted by family friends who changed his last name to Shuit; however, years later Dorothy’s father would take back the family’s surname of Van der Jack. 

Dorothy was joined by a little sister, Joann.  They had happy childhoods and lived in the same house on Pioneer Road in Beaverton until they moved out to marry.  Her childhood involved lots of camping, boating, trips to the coast, Girl Scouts, piano lessons from Mrs. Madden, playing baseball, dogs, kitties, rabbits, chickens, flowers, cooking, knitting, and sewing.  She loved these things throughout her whole life. 

Dorothy attended first through eighth grade at Sunset Valley Grade School.  She attended Beaverton High School and when the new Sunset High School was built, she attended there.  She was always proud of the fact that the new high school selected her favorite colors purple and silver for their official school colors when she won the contest to choose the new school colors.

Dorothy loved being a homemaker and was excellent at it.  Her home was always neat, organized,  warm and inviting.  She carefully studied, planned, and ordered the seeds for her bounteous vegetable gardens and beautiful flower beds and she loved the little birds that she invited into her yard. She was an excellent seamstress making clothes for herself and her family.  She learned to knit from her mother and Grandma Nyberg. She loved knitting and always had a project she was working on.  She won first place at the Wyoming State Fair for a knitted dress that she made.  She was an excellent cook. Before the days of restaurant pizza, she perfected an amazing homemade pizza. While she loved cooking from old family recipes, she fell in love with a new cooking magazine called Taste of Home and she could hardly wait for the next monthly edition to arrive so she could try something new.  She gave subscriptions to her family so everyone could join in with her trying out new recipes and talking about them.

Dorothy was an animal lover and her home always had to have at least one or two kitties and a dog in it.  Through the years she had many beloved pets but had an extra soft spot for Dachshunds and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. 

Dorothy married her high school sweetheart Thomas Prosser.  They had two children Sandra and Andrew (Andy).  They lived in Lovell, Wyoming. They later divorced. 

She met Charles Neal, from Maryland, while he was on a hunting trip in Wyoming.  They were later married and lived back east.  After Charles retired, she talked him into moving back to Oregon where they lived in Baker City for several years.  Charles was homesick and so they sold their home and moved east to West Virginia. But just two years later, Oregon called them back once again where they built their dream home nestled in the shadows of her dear Blue Mountains.  During those years they created a beautiful homestead. Dorothy loved going to church and singing in the church choir.  They camped, traveled in their motor home, and spent several winters as snowbirds in Arizona. Dorothy kept meticulous journals of their travels each showcasing her attention to detail and her stunningly beautiful handwriting.  Dorothy was diagnosed with breast cancer and was able to beat it remaining cancer free.

In 1993 Dorothy was reunited with her daughter, Janna, whom she had given up for adoption. This was a joyful reunion. It was as if a bucket of sunshine had been poured onto her life.  With this reunion also came three grandchildren who were the absolute joy of her life.  Together again, Dorothy and Janna built a beautiful, mother-daughter bond.  Janna felt so privileged to have been a part of her final three years of care in Arizona.

In 2014 her family began to see signs of her memory slipping and their fears were realized when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  The beautiful, vivacious Dorothy we all knew slowly slipped away and a new Dorothy took her place. But through all the stages of this terrible disease, God gave her a gift.  He kept a tiny window open for all of us.  She never lost the memory of those whose names were engraved upon her heart.  She could feel their love and also express hers right to the very end.  For this amazing gift, we give our most heartfelt thanks to God. 

She is survived by her husband, Charles C. Neal,  Westminster, Maryland, son, Andrew Prosser, Lovell, Wyoming; daughter, Janna (Jeff) Nelson, Peoria, Arizona; sister, Joann (Ross) Lebrun, Mulino, Oregon, nephews, Michael and Jason Lebrun, Oregon; grandchildren, Jaren (Kassie) Nelson, Rigby, Idaho, Jeni (Cameron) Harper, Glendale, Arizona, Jentry (Kaylee) Nelson, Surprise, Arizona; great grandchildren, Crew, Nash, Graham and Ford Nelson, Callie, Jack, Scottie and Van Harper, Stockton and Poppy Nelson; dearest friend, Sherry Thompson, Byron, Wyoming; stepdaughters, Toni  Harris, and Vicki Dempsey, Maryland.  

Preceded in death by her beloved parents; daughter, Sandra Prosser Daley; and grandson, Jade Nelson.

Our family wishes to express our deep and sincere gratitude to Daisy, Olivia, Lavi, Linda, Winnie, Bill, Ann, Kathy and  Ilene for their excellent and dignified care, love and friendship at Comfort Home Care, Arizona Sunset Hospice and Regency Mortuary.

A private family Life Celebration will be held on February 16, at her daughters’ home in Peoria, Arizona.  Dorothy’s wishes were to be cremated.  She will be interred in various family locations, Frederick, Maryland; Richmond, Utah; and Hug Point, Oregon.

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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Regency Mortuary
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