William Merton Neal
William Merton Neal, "Billy," railway executive (b at Toronto 20 June 1886; d at Longbow Lk, Ont 19 Oct 1961). Neal entered the CPR's service in 1902, qualifying as a stenographer in Winnipeg 2 years later. Most of his experience was in the West, although he was on loan as general secretary to the Canadian Railway Board during WWI. He succeeded D.C. COLEMAN as general manager of the western lines in 1934 and became a VP in 1942. Neal, who hired Grant MCCONACHIE as his assistant in Winnipeg, ceaselessly promoted McConachie's interests and also those of CP Air. The federal government was determined to force CPR to divest itself of its air subsidiary at the end of the war, but Neal, whose relations with C.D. HOWE were excellent, persuaded it otherwise and the airline survived. Neal was president and chairman of CPR for just over a year before being obliged to resign because of ill health.