Cynthia Parcell Neal died on September 22 , 2021, in Nashville, Tenn., as a result of a stroke and a fall at her home in Kingston Springs, Tenn.
Cindy was an award-winning filmmaker whose career spanned four decades and four continents. With a passion for wildlife and habitat conservation, Cindy wrote, directed and produced films for a wide variety of conservation and commercial organizations including the U.S. Forest Service, The Kiawah Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited. Her productions won 13 Emmy Awards and other national and international awards including the New York Film Festival and the Houston Film Festival. She was recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the finest creator of conservation films in the country.
Cindy was the co-founder of the Catesby Commemorative Trust honoring Mark Catesby, an 18th century naturalist and artist who published the first account of the flora and fauna of North America. Cindy was the producer and director of the widely acclaimed film, “The Curious Mr. Catesby.” She introduced the film at its world-wide premier in London at the Royal Society on November 14, 2007; at the United States premier at the College of Charleston in the spring of 2008; and in the summer of 2008 at the Smithsonian Libraries as part of the commemoration of their 40th anniversary and the 300th anniversary of Catesby’s arrival in North America. She was the contributing author of the book “The Curious Mr. Catesby.”
Cindy’s love of nature and her passion for conserving our vast national resources began in the mountains of West Virginia. Cindy was born in Rainelle, W.V.; attended Rainelle High School; and majored in broadcast communications and theater and stage at West Virginia University and Carnegie Institute. Her long career took her to Waynesboro, Va.; Danville, Va.; and then Nashville, Tenn., where she co-founded Neal and Reed Communications and then Neal Communications.
Cindy was preceded in death by her parents, Clifton Perry Neal Sr. and Sarah Lee Parcell Neal, and her nephew Carlton Patrick Neal Jr. She is survived by her brothers, Clifton Perry Neal Jr. (Vicky) of Crawley, W.V., and Carlton Patrick Neal Sr. (Sharon) of Craigsville, W.V.; her nieces and nephews, Christopher Neal (Kim), Tamara Neal Smithson (Gene), Clayton Neal (Rose), Courtney Neal Osborne, and Lyndsay Neal Riley (Benji); and grand nieces and nephews, Colby Smithson (Kristen), Jacob Smithson, David Osborne, Cambria Neal, Cole Neal, Carter Neal, Ben Neal, Maddy Osborne, Josie McCluskey-Neal, Charlotte Riley; and great-grand niece Aubrey Smithson.
Cindy was passionate about her friends and pets. Her circle of friends was wide and deep, and she carried those friendships with her wherever she went. She loved and nurtured the children of her friends and is survived by her godchildren in whose lives she was involved from the day they were born, James Elliot Freidenstein (Jennifer, Eden, Elliot), Lee Christopher Freidenstein, Sarah Phillips Crowder (Christopher, Freya), and Lauren Cate Childs McMahon (Liam, Quinn).
Cindy was a gourmet cook and took great pleasure as a hostess for friends and family, far and wide. She dispensed food, drink, advice and love -- all in large quantities.
Central to Cindy’s life were the pets she adopted and loved, and some were AKC champions, and some were found on the side of the road or in an abusive situation. All were cherished.
Cindy Neal used her voice and strong spirit to stand up for what she believed was right. She left the world a better place, and for that we are grateful. She is missed.
Memorial donations in Cindy’s honor may be made to an animal welfare agency or conservation non-profit group of your choice.