Saundra Kemberling Neal, 81, passed away on October 26, 2023 in St. Petersburg, FL. She was preceded in death by her parents, Beatrice and Jess Kemberling, her beloved husband of 59 years, Richard Neal, and her infant son, Richard Kent Neal. She is survived by her daughter Alice Culbreath and her husband, Garland, of Jupiter, FL, her son Andrew Neal and his wife Alice of Pensacola, FL, and her sister Susan Harvey and her partner Dave of Alva, FL.
She is survived by her four grandsons, Joseph Culbreath of New York City, NY; Gage Neal and his wife, Grace of St. Augustine, FL; Wesley Culbreath and his wife, Bella of Boca Raton, FL; and Jake Neal and his wife, Sydney of Huntsville, AL. When three of the grandsons married in 2022, Sandy was thrilled to welcome three new granddaughters to the family.
Saundra (Sandy) was born on July 16, 1942 in Selinsgrove, PA. As a girl, she moved to St. Petersburg, FL with her parents and graduated from Boca Ciega High School and Pfeiffer College. While still in high school, she met Rick at Pasadena Community Church. They both attended college at Pfeiffer College and married in 1962. They welcomed three children including a son who passed away in infancy. They both served in the ministry of the United Methodist Church, Sandy as a lay member and Rick as a pastor.
Sandy was a proud mother, grandmother, elementary school teacher and church member. Friends and family remember her as “whiskey in a teacup”. She was small but mighty…and had an incredible sense of humor and a great deal of spunk. Some of Sandy’s favorite things included: God, family, the United Methodist Church, holidays, movies, reading, BINGO, traveling, and frozen Cokes. Weekly trips to the salon were a favorite activity and she became close friends with everyone there.
Sandy loved snail mail and was well-known for her avid hobby of writing and keeping up with her friends and family both near and far. After Rick passed, she volunteered to write to shut-ins at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. She even wrote letters to her friends who lived just down the hall at Freedom Square and developed a love of crafting, BINGO, Rummikub and her morning workouts.
Nothing in her life exceeded her joy in being a grandmother. Her love for her grandsons – Joe, Gage, Wes and Jake – was without measure. She built a unique, special relationship with each one and spent many hours with them traveling and adventuring.
Her husband’s ministry required several relocations for the family. After serving a church in Ocee, Georgia and then churches in Spring Hill, South Miami, Jensen Beach, St. Petersburg, and Jacksonville, Florida they settled into retired life. Retirement brought them back to their hometown of St. Petersburg, FL and they were active members of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.
A celebration of life for Sandy (and Rick) Neal will take place at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in the new year. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church “In Memory of Saundra Neal” online at St. Luke’s UMC or Suncoast Hospice.