James Neal Rassman, 66, eloquent and observant, went out of his way to improve others’ lives

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James Neal Rassman died June 7, 2015, at home in Wilmington. He was 66.

Neal grew up in Midland, Texas, the son of Emil C. Rassman and Annie de Montel Rassman. Neal graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia where he excelled academically and in sports, establishing the 220-yard hurdle record that stood for many years. He was a graduate of Washington & Lee University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in history.

Neal later received a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Texas A&M University. He became a landscape architecture professor at Texas Tech University and later a tenured professor of landscape architecture at Kansas State University where he received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 1985.

Subsequently Neal moved to Charleston, South Carolina where he taught landscape architecture as an adjunct professor and lectured at the College of Charleston. Later he retired to Wilmington where he cared for his mother until her death.

Neal traveled extensively studying and photographing gardens and historic landscape design. In retirement his passions were family history and painting in watercolor.

Neal was an extremely bright, eloquent, observant, thorough and loving person. He was generous and thoughtful, going out of his way to improve the lives of friends and strangers alike with small acts of kindness.

Neal is survived by his sister, Laura Rassman Bates (Ned); nephew, Edward Ellett Bates III; and niece, Tyler Bates Novak.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday June 12, 2015, at Andrews Mortuary Market Chapel.

Memorial gifts may be made to Washington & Lee University, 204 W. Washington St., Lexington, VA 24450 or the New Hanover Humane Society, 2405 N. 23rd St., Wilmington, NC 28401.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

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