Robert "Neal" Petenbrink

Robert “Neal” Petenbrink, 76, Army Veteran and Retired Police Detective, loving father and grandfather passed away on Thursday, November 9, 2023, at his home in Quakertown with his longtime companion and high school sweetheart Sue Hale by his side.

Born in Wellersburgh, PA, he was the son of the late Robert Dale Petenbrink and Yvonne (Witt) Petenbrink.

Neal was a graduate of Wilson High School and a veteran of the Army where he served 4 ½ years. Neal began his service in Georgia where he was studying to be Military Police. He was the youngest Captain, at the time, at the age of 21. He served a tour of duty in Fairbanks, Alaska and was a former member of the Fairbanks Police Department and a graduate of the Fairbanks State Police Narcotics School.

Returning to Pennsylvania to be near his family Neal graduated from the State Police Academy, Hershey and joined the Pottstown Police department in 1971 where he began as a patrolman. During his tenure with the Police Department, he attended Penn State University where he pursued a degree in criminal justice. As a Detective Neal served as the head of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Municipal Drug Task Force. During his career he received many awards including commendations for “Astute patrol, superior ability and professional technique,” for, “superior performance in administering justice” and unit citations.

Neal was always active, starting the American Dream Corvette Club In the 1970’s. He was very proud of the accomplishments of the club such as running a Car Show at Sunnybrook and promoting the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Association.

He also had an entrepreneurial spirit by opening and running Coventry Hobbies and Bear Motors for several years with his second wife Gloria.

After retiring from the Police Department where he served for 25 years, he worked for Weiss Markets in Loss Prevention for several years. During the last 13 years Neal owned and operated Toys Are Fun with his Partner Sue, which began at Zern’s Farmers Market in Gilbertsville and then relocated to Quakertown Farmers Market.

Neal was an avid deer hunter and enjoyed playing cards with his family. He was a devoted grandfather to his grandchildren; they affectionately called him Pop. He held a special bond with one of his grandsons who has severe autism. They were very close and enjoyed sharing in collecting Dragon Ball Z. He enjoyed trips to McDonald’s and Pizza with all his grandchildren. He recently enjoyed attending the wedding of his oldest grandson and was looking forward to meeting his great grand daughter.

He is survived by his daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, 3 siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is predeceased by a stepdaughter and great grandson.

A memorial visitation will be held on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, from 12-2 pm at Catagnus Funeral Home (1020 E. Philadelphia Ave, Gilbertsville, PA 19525). A service will follow at 2pm with Rev. Joseph Dietz officiating. The burial will be held privately by the family later.

Flowers can be sent to Catagnus Funeral Home, or donations can be sent to the Timothy School

Add My Condolences

I wish to extend my condolences to Neal's entire family. He was a great guy. My husband, Michael who also passed just prior (10-25-23) to Neal, joined the charter year of the American Dream Corvette Club which Neal played a large part in forming. The club got together on our front porch to mix concrete to make the bases for the rope standards used to separate the spectators from the Corvettes at the first Corvette Show in the Sunnybrook Ballroom that the club sponsored. All the members', shined to the max, Corvettes on display under the spinning ball and lights of the ballroom made a spectacular, million-dollar, extravaganza in Pottstown. We had great times participating in the activities of the club. The members were great people who remain friends. Thank you Neal. Rest in peace.

~ Merilyn D. McLaughlin
1/3/2024 12:53:49 AM

I was shocked to hear of Neil’s passing. He was a great cop but a better man. I will miss my friend.

Bob Matalavage

~ Bob Pottstown, PA
11/18/2023 9:49:33 PM

Dear Sue,
Neil and I were so saddened to hear of Neal’s passing. We never had the privilege of knowing him during his years as a police officer, though I can imagine what a dedicated and honorable officer he must have been. I met him only on a few occasions at your collectable toy shop. But through my husband’s stories, I felt as if I had known him well. Neil would purchase Beanie Babies for Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Boxes, and to keep as special gifts for children visiting our church, as prizes for his youngest patients or for families in need through the year. They were priced very reasonably to begin with, but Neal would always give my Neil a discount, knowing they were going to be given away to children. My husband would often reflect on all the items that had passed through your store and went on to bless hundreds, even thousands of children nearby and around the world.
We also shared a kinship with both of you, as our family valued the nostalgia, happy memories and cultural connections that can share a bit of history with future generations, through fun toys and memorabilia. My husband would come home with new Star Trek treasures or other items of special interest and say, “Look what my friends found for me this week!” It was a joyful experience to walk through your store, which was like a trip through a pop-culture library of fond memories, that I know must have blessed many other people as it blessed us.
I think if my husband had a stressful day at work, a conversation with you or Neal, would end his day on a happy note. And as our world has gone through so many tragic and difficult times, they shared empathy, sorrows, needs to be prayed for, and also some laughter to lighten their hearts. “A joyful heart is good medicine,” (Proverbs 17:22). He was always moved by the kindness and care you both showed in telling people, “We have something special today you’d like to see.” How wonderful a life that touched so many other lives in such meaningful ways.
With Love, Lauren and Neil Kenney

~ Lauren and Neil Kenney Quakertown, PA
11/17/2023 4:34:18 PM

He was a great partner at the police department and a good friend.

~ George Weaver Longs, SC
11/16/2023 9:40:57 AM


~ Robert Campitelli
11/15/2023 11:23:20 AM