- Neal Beard (61), a member of the VHPA died suddenly on April 15, 2009, in Vancouver, Washington. His passing is a great loss to friends and family.
Neal was born December 31, 1947, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the son of Harley E. Beard and Berniece S. Menze. He was baptized into the Christian faith at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. He moved to Bellevue with his family in 1957. He was confirmed in his faith in 1962 at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Bellevue. Neal was a member of the Boy Scouts and an active participant in the Explorer Scout Search and Rescue program. He graduated from Sammamish High School in 1966 and attended Bellevue Community College before enlisting in the United States Army July 24, 1967.
Neal earned his rotary pilot’s wings and was commissioned a Warrant Officer on April 26, 1968. During his Army service, Neal had two combat tours as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, serving with the 176th Aviation Company with the Americal Division, F Troop (Air) of the 4th Cavalry, HHC 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) and the 120th Assault Helicopter Company. He was decorated for heroism with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star. He was also awarded the Bronze Star and 16 Air Medals. Following his separation from active service, Neal flew helicopters in the Army Reserve with the 92nd Aviation Company.
Neal returned to Seattle in 1973 and settled in Kirkland and then Bellevue. He worked for Bethlehem Steel before becoming a letter carrier for the U. S. Postal Service on Mercer Island, retiring in 1992. He later worked for the Icom Company in Bellevue and for Werner Trucking as a truck driver, moving to Kettle Falls, returning to Bellevue in 2004. He moved to Vancouver to work for Key Trucking. He was an avid online gamer, participated in Civil War reenactments and loved to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
- We sadly note the passing of our brother Ed Freeman, Medal of Honor winner, a great American and treasured friend. Freeman, who lived in Boise, died at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 20th from complications from Parkinson’s disease, a family member said. He was 80 years old.
Freeman was a Vietnam veteran who was honored for his heroic services. He piloted a helicopter and saved more than 30 men during the war. His heroics grew nationwide attention when his character was featured in Mel Gibson’s war movie, “We Were Soldiers.” Actor Mark McCracken played the character of Ed “Too Tall” Freeman in the popular film.
The family released this statement:
“Our family is grateful for all the wonderful wishes we’ve received these past few weeks, from our friends and from those we don’t even know. The support of the people of Idaho has been overwhelming, and my father really appreciated those kind words and wishes.”
“He had visits from Governor Otter, Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne and Major General Lafrenz of the Idaho National Guard. Many others either came to see him or passed on their kind words to us.”
“My father touched a lot of people over the years during his career in the U.S. Army and as a civilian pilot with the federal government at the National Interagency Fire Center. People could relate to him, and those who knew him have told me they thought of him as a wonderful, friendly, humorous person with a lot of integrity.”
“He made an impression on people. I knew him not only as my father but as my best friend. We spent many hours together, fishing and just hanging out with each other. My family and I will miss him more than words can express.”
Freeman’s was buried at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
- We sadly report that Richard (Dick) E. Glasgow lost his battle with lung disease that he had been fighting for the past 5 years. He passed away at home with his family by his side. Services were held Monday, February 26th at the Woodland Funeral Home. He will be missed.