This past Sunday (July 3rd), our father, Ryan Neal, passed away by drowning at the beach while walking on a sandbar with his girlfriend, Melissa, when the current picked up. Unbeknownst to them, a 12-year old boy had passed away three hours prior by drowning in the same area. Melissa struggled to save him for over 30 minutes, nearly succumbing to the ocean herself.
Ryan had moved to Virginia Beach from St. Paul, Minnesota and was living with his daughter and son-in-law. He moved here to turn his life around and was accomplishing just that: was staying sober, was a rising star as an expert machinist at his new job, and found true love with a beautiful woman who cared deeply for him. He was in love and Melissa loved him back just the same! They were enjoying the summer together through outdoor activities such as canoeing, fishing, and hitting the beach, but also they had joined a bowling league together and were at the lanes twice a week. He was also loving life by rekindling his relationship with his daughter, Erin, teaching her how to work a nail gun and build things such as a wooden cat house. He would work on her car for her and teach her skills as the good technician and father that he was. He helped his son-in-law out with things around the house and was an invaluable addition to Erin and Burk’s small family. He was really starting to make a place for himself throughout the community, reaching out to neighbors and helping wherever he could. He recently spent half a Sunday helping the neighbor cut down a tree - no charge of course.
He also leaves behind two sons, ages 21 and 10 in Minnesota.
It will cost a significant amount of money to get Ryan back to Minnesota and conduct a proper burial. He had no life insurance - his kids could use the support. Any help is very much appreciated. Thanks!