Georgianne Davis Neal, 92, died October 27, 2023, in Indianapolis. Born November 25, 1930, in Indianapolis, she was the daughter of Herschel Ewing and Ruth Fifer Davis, and the granddaughter of the Rev. Orien Wesley Fifer, editor of the Christian Advocate who for many years served as minister of Central Avenue Methodist Church. She married James T. Neal, editor and publisher of The Noblesville Ledger, in 1953.
Mrs. Neal was a graduate of Tudor Hall School and Radcliffe (Harvard University), Class of 1951. At Harvard, she was among the first group of women to serve on the staff of The Harvard Crimson newspaper. She received an Institute of International Education fellowship for graduate study, summer 1951, at the University of London. From 1951 to 1955, she was a reporter and assistant woman’s editor of The Indianapolis News. In 1976, on the occasion of the nation’s bicentennial, she curated an exhibit and authored a publication on “Indiana History through the Printer’s Art.”
A past president of the Junior League of Indianapolis, Mrs. Neal also served as president of The Indianapolis Garden Club and the Indiana Public Broadcasting Society. She received the Society’s “Order of the Big Bird” award in 1986. She was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Gov. Otis R. Bowen in 1980 for her work in researching and helping to establish a Hoosier Heritage Garden at the Indiana Governor’s Mansion.
Mrs. Neal served on the boards of Indianapolis Methodist Hospital, Marion County Child Guidance Clinic, Central Indiana Council of Camp Fire Girls, Channel 20 (WFYI), Conner Prairie, Hamilton County United Fund, Orchard School, Park Tudor School, and The Museum of Indian Heritage. In 1993, she and her husband, longtime collectors of Native American art, were among the founders of the Institute of American Indian Arts museum in Santa Fe. For 12 years Mrs. Neal served as Indiana’s representative on the board of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which oversees George Washington’s home, historic Mount Vernon.
She was a member of The Indianapolis Woman’s Club, Progressive Club, the Society of Indiana Pioneers, Christamore Guild, The National Society of Colonial Dames, Players Club, The Dramatic Club, and a member of Meridian Street United Methodist Church since 1952.
Mrs. Neal’s husband died in 2016. She is survived by two daughters, Anne Neal Petri (Thomas E.), Washington D.C. and Fond du Lac, Wis.; Andrea Davis Neal, Indianapolis; three grandchildren, Alexandra Attkisson Petri, Andrew Neal Schmelzer, and Scott Hubbard Schmelzer; and one great-granddaughter.
Services are scheduled for Saturday, November 4, at 1 p.m. at Meridian Street United Methodist Church with calling an hour before and after. Memorial contributions may be made to the Reverend Orien Wesley Fifer Organ Fund at Indiana Landmarks or the James T. and Georgianne D. Neal Journalism Scholarship at Butler University.
Saturday, November 4, 2023
12:00 - 1:00pm (Eastern time)
An additional calling will follow the service.
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Starts at 1:00pm (Eastern time)