O.S. (Orlando Swain) Neal, born January 14, 1868

O.S. Neal Died Sun., Nov. 4 Following Major Operation

Death Came at Dexter Clinic

O.S. Neal, well known and very highly esteemed Dexter man, passed away Sunday evening at the Dexter Clinic where he was taken following a major operation in the Lutheran hospital in Des Moines. Mr. Neal lived in and near Dexter for many years and will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing this fine man.

The service was held in the first Presbyterian church of which he was a member. His pastor, the Rev. S.C. Wadding, officiated and the body rests in the tomb at the Dexter Cemetery. The pall-bearers, all grandsons, were Merritt Neal, Warren D. Neal, Willis K. Neal, Rawson Neal, Clifford Connor, and Mervin Wells.

The music was provided by: Harold Ellis of Redfield, Ed Snydergaard of Dallas Center, and Mrs. Ed Snydergaard as pianist.


Orlando Swain Neal, son of John and Rhoda, was born at Redfield, Iowa, January 14, 1868, and passed away at the Dexter Clinic on November 4, after an illness of six weeks. Although he was of a healthy constitution, he failed to rally after a major operation and answered the Master’s Call at the age of 77 years, 9 months and 21 days.

He was married April 5, 1892, to Nellie Edith Keith of Clay Center, Kansas. Four children came to bless their home: Keith J., Kenneth, and twins: Maurice Marshall, and Mary Marjorie. Keith and Marjorie preceded their father in death.

O. Swain, Marjorie, Kenneth, Nellie, Keith, and Maurice (M.M.) Neal

He has been a life-time resident of the Dexter community where he was proud to make his home. His home and family were his chief concern and enjoyment; but he was interested also in his friends and the good of the community.

He led a very fruitful life, being active in the Presbyterian church for fifty years and of which had been an elder for many years and was the senior elder of the church at the time of his call to the Heavenly Home.

He evidenced his Christian faith in his life and works and expressed to his family his willingness to respond to the call of his Lord and Savior.

He leaves to mourn his passing his companion and two sons: Kenneth and Maurice both of Dexter. Three sisters also survive: Mrs. Dora Andrew of Des Moines, Mrs. Hannah Doling of Clay Center, Kansas and Ida Andrew of Cordova, Ill. Also twenty grandchildren, five great grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews.

The Dexter Sentinel, November 8, 1945

His grandsons had just returned from serving in WWII. Merritt Winsell (Bud) Neal was named for Merritt Winsell, the first Dexter boy killed in WWI.

O.S. Neal was named for two of his mother’s brothers, Orlando and Swain Marshall. (Swain served in the Civil War.)

Neal served on the 1916 Community Building Committee as a representative of the Presbyterian Church. The permanent building was to replace a temporary tabernacle.

When the Dexter Canning Factory was in business, O.S. hired the corn growers and kept an eye on the progress of the crops. He also hired the workers and foremen during canning season.

Swain and Nellie Neal were beloved neighbors of Clabe and Leora Wilson, so they turn up from time to time in Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression. (Mrs. Neal’s navy beans after the baby twins died, and one time Spats stole Mr. Neal’s mitten!)


  1. I love your history. writings. Seems more meaningful when it involves family. Thanks for sharing

    • Thank you, Sharon. I wish I’d known him. He was Dad’s grandfather, but since they were neighbors of Mom’s family, most of my stories about him are from her!

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