Joe Neely was a lifelong resident of Wildwood. He was born January 2, 1928, and died on Friday, April 27, 2018.
He was a boiler welder who worked for Combustion Engineering out of Chattanooga. He was also a blacksmith, learning the craft from his father and grandfather. The sound of the hammer on the anvil is a memory of time spent with him.
He was a beekeeper, a bicyclist, a birdwatcher, a ham radio operator, a square dancer, a watcher of cartoons and a reciter of poetry. He was a gardener who still planted the pumpkins passed down in his family from the time of their coexistence with the native Cherokees. And he would let you know he still preferred plowing with a mule team to a tractor.
He was a baker who made sourdough loaves from scratch, a mean coconut cake and a fresh pan of biscuits every weekend morning.
He was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. His entire life he remained close to the land that sustained generations of his family. He was born in a cabin in the holler just a short walk from the home where he gently passed away on Friday.
He was loved and he will be sorely missed.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Fran and Alma Neely; a sister, Violet Neely; and his wife of nearly 40, years Faye Neely. He is also preceded in death by his companion of 20 years, Carolyn Moore of Signal Mountain.
He is survived by his brother Frank (Marjorie) Neely, son Marshall (Bonnie) Neely, daughter Marie Neely, son Scott (Gay) Neely, all of Wildwood, five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation is Saturday May 5, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Wildwood Methodist Church, with a memorial service immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, the family ask that donations be made in his honor to Wildwood Methodist Church.
Arrangements by Ryan Funeral Home, Trenton, Ga.
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