|High School:||Waukegan Township|
|Team:||Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track|
Growing up in Waukegan, Illinois, Neal attended Waukegan Township High School.
He entered Lake Forest College in 1922 and earned varsity letters in football, baseball, track and basketball. A history major, Neal was also a member of Phi Pi Epsilon.
Following graduation, he became a sales engineer at Cyclone Fence Company. He then took a position as field engineer at Hazlet, Sommers and Erdahl Engineering Company and was a partner at Hassey News Agency. Neal then established his own wholesale newspaper distribution company, the Brookfield News Agency. He was the director of both the Mid-west Distributors Association and Mid-America Periodical Distributors Association. Neal served his alma mater as a class agent and a member of the Executive Board of the Alumni Association.