A native of Baytown, Neal was preceded in death by his parents, George Douglas Hamil and Dorothy Neal Hamil; and is survived by his beloved sister, Karen Hamil Stueck and her husband Chris; nephew, Mark Stueck, niece Sarah Stueck Solis and her husband Aaron Solis; grandnephews, Miles and Wade Stueck, Daniel and Luke Solis, and grandniece, Blaire Elizabeth Solis.
At the time of his death, Neal was a successful realtor with Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, a career he embraced after half a lifetime as a leader in the New York fashion industry.
A native Texan - New Yorker - and Texan again, Neal’s eye for talent brought him the unique distinction of heading the two top modeling agencies in the world, the Ford Agency and Elite North America. In New York, he worked with Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Kristy Hinze Clark, Jerry Hall, Christie Brinkley, Cheryl Tiegs, Alessandra Ambrosio, Veronica Webb, and nearly every supermodel of the 90s, the last great model era.
Neal traveled the world looking for new talent. On a trip to South Africa with Naomi Campbell, President Nelson Mandela told him, “I have decided that you have the best job in the world.”
A popular public speaker, event host, and commentator, Neal appeared on popular television shows such as NBC’s “Today Show,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “Stylista,” “The Search for a Supermodel,” and “Australia’s Next Top Model.” His social media reach included the “Neal and Libby” podcast on Radio Brave.
In a move that rocked the modeling world, Neal resigned as head of Elite in 2011 and returned to Houston, where he disproved F. Scott Fitzgerald’s adage about no second acts in American lives. He founded Black Gold Productions, a fashion and beauty consulting business; Legitimutt, a luxury product line for dogs; Groupe Consulting, which matches non-profits in the environmental sphere with corporate sponsors and platforms; and Mix Model Management, which he merged with DMA/United, that provided co-branding, direct-to-retail, licensing, and full-service advertising, marketing, and creative services.
Above all, Neal knew a thing or two about selling luxury goods – including luxury homes – and working with luxury customers. He chose luxury real estate as a full-time second career, first as president of Carnan Properties, and then at Martha Turner Properties, now Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty. At MTSIR, Neal drew on his extensive marketing expertise and overriding regard for excellent customer service to build a robust luxury home sales career.
Always generous with his time and support, Neal served on the boards of the Houston Cinema Arts Society and the Houston Cinema Arts Film Festival. He was a dedicated volunteer for AniMEALS/Interfaith Ministries, the ASPCA, World Wildlife Fund, The Pet Set, BARC, and the Oceanic Preservations Society. Neal explained his love for animals by asserting that his schnauzer, Greta, changed his life. “She relied on me completely,” he told an interviewer. “She changed my thinking. When I looked in her eyes, I realized there was someone in there.”
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family to be held from four o’clock in the afternoon until seven o’clock in the evening on Thursday, the 1st of June, in the grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
At a later date, the family will gather for a private memorial service.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be directed to the Houston SPCA or BARC. (See links below)