Donald McNeal passed away on July 31, 2020, after a short battle with cancer. He is survived by his brother-in-law John Coppolo (Judy, de-ceased), and nieces Catherine Rossetto (Chris) and Jennifer Stetson (Dave). He is also survived by his ex-wife and good friend, Patricia Roma, and her nieces, Ursula Roma and Axie Roma, nephews Chip Roma and Gian Roma, and grandnephew Paolo Roma.
Don was born in San Francisco, Calif., in 1948 and graduated from Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, Calif., where he played both varsity football and baseball. After graduating high school in 1966, he enlisted in the army, and was sent to Vietnam for four years, where he worked as an air traffic controller
for army helicopters. After receiving an honorable discharge, he applied to be an air traffic controller at the San Francisco International Airport. Despite receiving excellent marks on the qualifying tests, he decided to retract his application as the unions started changing in California.
He then took up construction work, building houses, cabins and other beautiful structures with impeccable precision. When Ken Coverdale of Blue Sky Designs discovered his talent, he offered Don a job with that company doing design and construction work along the Pacific Coast.
Don also started his own business, Pacific Patio, in Half Moon Bay, Calif., where he constructed patio furniture, such as Adirondack chairs, picnic tables, swings, planter boxes and a variety of other furniture. His products featured recycled redwood boards that he salvaged from dismantled water towers throughout Northern California. His customers found his creations so aesthetically pleasing that they often resorted to using his outdoor furniture indoors!
Don, also known as Stoney, was a quiet, intelligent and reserved man, with a quick wit, and a dry sense of humor. He enjoyed hiking and skiing, and loved visiting Yosemite and other parks. For several years, he played on a coed softball team sponsored by the Moss Beach Distillery, and later on another one sponsored by Touchatt Trucking.
Don spent his retirement years living independently in the small town of Arnold, in the foothills of Northern California, where he came to know and love the locals and the area’s quiet, slow-paced life. He enjoyed his weekly trips to town to run errands, and to people watch.
At home, he enjoyed reading about and researching new woodworking projects and techniques, or watching old Western and classic films, or the occasional San Francisco 49ers game.
Don McNeal was a craftsman who lived his life on his own terms. Though somewhat of an introvert, he had a small circle of friends whom he truly loved and allowed into his heart. The world lost a kind and good man when Don departed.
A service will be held in Half Moon Bay in 2021, and his remains will be buried near Arnold after the service.