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John William Neale, 1949-2006

Professor John Neale died on Friday 20 January 2006, aged 79. He was born in Burton-on-Trent and arrived in Hull in 1949 after serving as a naval officer after graduating from Manchester with a first class honours degree. University College Hull (as it was then known) geology department was in a wooden hut with three students and a technician. He was at times candid and direct but always a gentleman. After 25 years of geology in the wooden huts he held a ‘celebration’ party in the department to shame the university authorities into finding better lodgings.

During a professional career of 42 years John Neale published over 100 scientific papers and book chapters, and edited 5 books, mainly on his speciality, the bivalved crustacean group Ostracoda. Twelve species of these fossils were named in his honour. His collection of Ostracoda is now housed at the Natural History Museum in London.
A conference on ostracods, organised by him in 1967, launched his international career, working in Russia and China. He remained a regular contributor to the Octracoda conferences into the 1990s. As his reputation grew he was invited to set up a geology course at the University of Rio Grande do Sol (Brazil), and conducted research at Waterloo in Canada, Shizuoka in Japan and lectured at the Oil and Gas Institute of India in Dehra Dun.

His “ostracod dance”, to mimic ostracod limb motions to the ‘birdie song’ was a never-to-be-forgotten undergraduate moment and was apparently well received at an ice-breaker event for an international ostracod workers meeting in Beijing.

He spent his career building up the University of Hull Department of Geology and was “utterly shattered" by its closure in 1991. John Neale was a past-President of the Yorkshire Geological Society and was awarded their Sorby Medal in 1986. A memorial meeting of the Yorkshire Geological society was held on 28 October.
After retirement John Neale was an very enthusiastic member of three operatic groups in Hull and the Gilbert and Sullivan society sang at his funeral from HMS Pinafore: “He is an Englishman”.

'But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains an Englishman!
He remains an Englishman!'

John Helm & Mike Horne