Neal Warren Grubaugh, 89, of Ozark, joined his heavenly father on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Mercy Hospital in Springfield following injuries sustained in a fall in his home. Neal was born April 22, 1922 in Ozark, Mo. to James Edd and Annie Belle (Dunham) Grubaugh. The fourth of five children, Neal was a spirited and curious youth, a trait that served him well all his life, including his school years and at Ozark High School, where he graduated in 1940. Following high school, Neal answered the call to serve his country, enlisting in the United States Army Air Corps, where he began his training as an aircraft mechanic. He was picked to joined a small, select group of enlisted airmen in the Army Air Corps, which were known as the Sergeant Pilots. He saw service in the Pacific and North African theaters during World War II and during other conflicts through the early 1970s, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He retired in 1982, and was a proud and active veteran for the rest of his life. Between military stints, Neal earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History and Education at Drury University and New York University, respectively. A lifelong learner, Neal’s days studying in New York were among his favorite of his life. Neal married Betty McCracken on Nov. 25, 1948 in Louisville, Ky. Together they raised two sons (Tom and Myron) and a daughter (Susan) in Ozark, Missouri. Concurrently with his service in the US Air Force Active Reserves as a military officer, Neal taught history at Pipkin Middle School (1948) and Central (1950) and Parkview High Schools (1956) in Springfield before joining the administration at Hillcrest High School (1966) as an assistant principal. He developed a reputation as a respected and fair authority figure and colleague for a generation of Hillcrest students, faculty and administrators. Neal retired from education in 1982, but not before beginning two more careers. Neal was pastor at Elkland Christian Church in Elkland, Mo. from 1974 through 1989. Beginning at Elkland as a lay speaker, he was ordained in 1977 as a licensed lay minister by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and as an ordained minister in 1985. In 1989, he moved to Ozark Christian Church, Ozark, where he served as pastor from 1989 to 1994, and Pastor Emeritus for the rest of his life. Finally, but certainly not least, Neal successfully ran for Mayor of Ozark, Mo. in 1982, a position he held until 1990. During his time as Mayor, Ozark grew from a small town into a thriving small city. After leaving office, Neal served one stint on the city’s Board of Aldermen and on other committees. Other civic activities included a term on the Board of Directors for Springfield-Branson National Airport from 2000-2009. Neal was also an active Freemason, a noble of the Abou Ben Adhem Shrine in Springfield, a member of the Knights Templar, and a dedicated Rotarian in Ozark, where he rarely—if ever—missed a meeting. In his rare down time, Neal enjoyed talking about history, working in his garden and yard, spending time on his houseboat at Table Rock Lake, visiting with friends and family and traveling with Betty. Neal is survived by his three children, son Tom and wife Amy, Nixa, Mo.; daughter Susan and husband Curtis Lemmon, Ozark, Mo.; and son Myron and wife Sharon, West Chester, Penn.; four grandchildren, Jason Grubaugh and wife Martha, Carrollton, Va.; Matthew Lemmon and wife Nichole, Springfield, Mo.; Christopher Grubaugh, York, Pa.; Nicholas Grubaugh, Blacksburg, Va.; and one great-granddaughter, Harriet Lemmon, Springfield. Neal also leaves behind many adoring nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family members who will miss him dearly. Neal was preceded in death by his wife, Betty; parents Edd and Annie; four siblings: sister Mabel, brother John, brother Ward, and brother Russell; and many well-loved aunts, uncles and cousins. Two visitations are planned for Friday, February 17, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., at Adams Funeral Home, Ozark. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 18, with interment and military honors immediately following at Richwood Cemetery west of Ozark. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Ozark Christian Church, (Disciples of Christ); Christian Family Church (Disciples of Christ); Finley River Community Foundation; or Parkinson‘s Disease Research Foundation. Ozark Christian Church, 1200 W. McCracken Rd. , Ozark, MO 65721, Christian Family Church, P. O. Box 296, Ozark, MO 65721.