Former State Senator Joe Neal, The State of Nevada’s First African American State Senator passes

January 14, 2021

Former State Senator Joe Neal, The State of Nevada’s First African American State Senator passes
Fmr. Nevada State Senator Joe Neal

Former Las Vegas State Sen. Joseph M. Neal, Jr., died on New Year’s Eve.

My Dad, after a long-fought battle, succumbed to an illness, stated his daughter, Sen. Dina Neal, D-North Las Vegas. He passed away at 10:25 p.m. Dec. 31 at Dignity Health, Sienna Campus, in Henderson, where he received the best care, surrounded by family.

Neal, the first African American state senator, served from 1972 to 2004.

He ran for governor unsuccessfully two times. In 2002, he won the Democratic nomination but lost to Gov. Kenny Guinn.

He was the best who ever was, said former campaign manager Andrew Barbano of Reno. He was absolutely fearless and often went against the grain of ˜the overlords’ as he termed them. His Neal Care proposal, which he unveiled in his 2002 campaign for governor, with a few tweaks, is now known as Obamacare.
Neal was born in Mounds, La., on July 28, 1935. He graduated from Southern University in 1963 with a degree in political science and history.


Public visitation will be on Friday, January 15, 2021 at Davis Funeral Home, 6200 South Eastern Avenue, NV 89119 (Cross Street Patrick Lane). The hours of visitation will be between 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm. This will include a prayer service from 6:30 pm – 6:45 pm.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, space at the Davis Funeral Home is limited to 30 people at a time. There will be ushers to assist.


The Homegoing Celebration for Senator Joseph Martin Neal, Jr. will be on Saturday, January 16, 2021 at St. James the Apostle Catholic Church, 1920 N. Martin Luther King Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89106. Due to limited seating, the service is invitation only.


The ceremony will be on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1900 Veterans Memorial Drive, Boulder City, Nevada 89005 at

10:40 a.m. Masks are required.

During this unprecedented time, our deepest regret is that we are not able to gather together with our family, friends and colleagues due to COVID-19. Therefore, the family has provided alternative options of viewing below.

Live Streaming via Social Media and Radio



Drive-By Respect and Condolences from 10:00 am “ 11:30 am at St. James the Apostle Catholic Church, you may drop off sympathy cards, donations, pick-up programs without leaving your car. Ushers will assist. Masks must be worn at all times. You may also mail sympathy cards to Ms. Withania Neal, 1308 Cactus Grove Court, North Las Vegas, Nevada 89084.

There will be a Drive-By repass on the afternoon of January 16, 2020 to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, please donate directly to one of these entities:

1) Joe Neal STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) Academy,

6651 W. Azure Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130-1415: Write checks directly to Joseph M. Neal Elementary school, Attn: Principal Murray.

2) Joe Neal Scholarship Program, Las Vegas Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity: Write checks: Culture for Service Foundation 501c3, submit to US Bank Acct #153758811282; Routing#121201694

Joe Neal Memorial Fund all proceeds will be distributed to charity: Write checks or Zelle to Wells Fargo Acct #6397420743; Routing #321270742

4) Joseph Martin Neal, Jr. Scholarship. Write a check to Southern University Law Center Attn: Robbin Thomas P.O. Box 9294, Baton Rouge, LA 70813. Write in the memo line to Joseph Martin Neal
Jr. Scholarship.

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