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Neal, Wanda "LaNelle"

Neal, Wanda "LaNelle"


MADISON - Wanda "LaNelle" Neal went home to her Heavenly Father on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. She was born July 26, 1933, in Round Timber, Tex., to Asa and Thelma Smith. LaNelle married the love of her life, George Neal, on April 15, 1965. They were married 49 years, and were inseparable. LaNelle was preceded in death by her daughter, Deborah, who passed at the young age of 18, from complications from diabetes.

LaNelle devoted her life to bringing the beauty out in each individual she encountered. She and George worked side by side for over 35 years in their multiple Merle Norman Studios in Madison and Freeport, Ill. In this work they were known, first and foremost, for "building" people and not the business. LaNelle always made a friend before she made a customer. LaNelle was also deeply dedicated to the work of Gilda's Club, the support and encouragement of cancer survivors, and in the work of the UW Carbone Cancer Center. She was featured in Brava and several other publications for her work in the beauty industry.

Those who knew LaNelle knew of her love for exquisite fashion and often heard her say, "Never leave your home without your lipstick." LaNelle was always kind, always looking for the good in others, and extremely generous with all that life afforded her. LaNelle was an active member of Crossroads Church in Madison, and participated in many volunteer ministries. She found special joy in telling her stories to the younger generation, and always loved being with children and youth.

A funeral service will be held at CROSSROADS CHURCH, 3815 S. Dutch Mill Road, Madison, on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, at noon, with Pastor Doug Van Essen presiding. A short time for friends to be together sharing memories and viewing pictures will be held at church from 11:30 a.m. until the time of service. A lunch will follow the memorial service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in memory of LaNelle to Crossroads Church or The UW Carbone Cancer Center.

A special thank you to Dr. Ellen Hartenbach and Dr. Kathleen Walsh for the love and support you gave to LaNelle. To all of her dear friends who helped care for LaNelle over the last several months, please know she felt your love and you touched her deeply! Agrace HospiceCare, through their gentle care, brought her peace in her final days.

Please share your memories at

Cress Funeral and Cremation Service

3610 Speedway Road, Madison

(608) 238-3434

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