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Metals expert a family man, 'Southern gentleman'

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Frank W. Neu, 82, of Franklin Park died Sunday, July 7, 2013.

Frank Neu was his children's biggest cheerleader, even when they struggled, his daughter said.

“My father was a huge basketball fan and I wanted to play (as a child), but I was terrible,” said Rachel Baird of Portage, Ind. “He worked with me and helped me, sent me to camps.”

Frank W. Neu of Franklin Park died of a heart condition in UPMC Passavant on Sunday, July 7, 2013. He was 82.

Mr. Neu was a family man who was never at a loss for words, his relatives said.

“He was a steady, warm, generous, loving person. And in every sense of the word, he was a Southern gentleman,” said Mr. Neu's wife, Rita Ann Neu.

Mr. Neu was born Nov. 7, 1930, in Lantana, Fla., and graduated from Tech High School in Indianapolis.

Mr. Neu attended Duke University in Durham, N.C., where he majored in civil engineering, before attending Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., his wife said.

From 1951-53 he served in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

In 1954, the Neus married in Indianapolis. They started their family, later moving to Connersville, Ind.

As a leading expert on metal panel building materials, he traveled extensively to the Far East, Middle East and Europe while working for the H.H. Robertson company, his wife said. Some of the projects he worked on include the original World Trade Center in New York and the Sears Tower in Chicago, now the Willis Tower, she said.

In 1987, the Neus moved to Franklin Park. After 43 years with H.H. Robertson, Mr. Neu retired and started a consulting firm, F.W. Neu & Associates.

He tried to instill in his five children the value of hard work, something he learned growing up during the Great Depression, said his son, Gabriel Neu of Vail, Colo.

“He was a great father. He did lead a very interesting life,” he said.

In addition to his wife, Rita, and children, Rachel and Gabriel, Mr. Neu is survived by his children Robyn Lugar of Terre Haute, Ind., and Benjamin Neu of Franklin Park; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a son, Christopher Jordan Neu.

A memorial service will be held in August in New Community Church, 3100 Wexford Road, Pine.

Simons Funeral Home Inc. in Ross is overseeing the arrangements.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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