Mr. James Clay Neely age 76, of New Tazewell, TN, was born December 17, 1935, and passed away November 25, 2012, at the University of Tennessee Hospital with his family by his side.
He was a member of Midway Baptist Church and veteran of the United States Air Force. Clay was a graduate of Lincoln Memorial University and received his Master’s Degree from East Tennessee State University in 1968.
Clay served as principal of the Claiborne County High School from 1966-1968 and served as Superintendent of Claiborne County Schools from 1968-1979. He was a founding partner in Quick Stop Supermarket. He gained a reputation as a fair and honest businessman, always smiling and laughing with his friends and customers.
Clay was an active volunteer and served on the Claiborne County Hospital foundation board, Chairman of the Private Industry Council of Walters State Community College, the Claiborne County Industrial Development Board and the Claiborne County Chamber of Commerce.
Clay was instrumental in the creation of the Alpha School which was designed to meet the child care needs of local manufacturers’ employees. He was a 30 year member of the Claiborne County Planning Commission.
Clay was also co-host of a local gospel singing program which aired on the local cable network and was an active member in the local Lions Club. In April of 1993, Clay teamed with Eddie Overholt and founded Claiborne Funeral Home. Before retirement he served as Executive Vice President of Commercial Bank.
He was preceded in death by his: Parents: Luther C. and Lizzie (Cardwell) Neely; Brothers: Ray Neely, Gerald Neely and Luther C. Neely Jr.; Brothers-in-Law: Jay Heath and Lawrence (Tommy) Harmon.
He is survived by his: Wife: Santa Fay (Harmon) Neely, of New Tazewell, TN; Daughter and Son-in-Law: Jamie Gilliam and husband, Mike, of Johnson City, TN; Granddaughters: Carrie Lewey and husband, Nathanael, of Johnson City, TN, Leigh Crumbley, of Bristol, VA; Sister: Wilma Heath, of New Tazewell, TN; Sisters-in-Law: Dorothy Neely, of Tazewell, TN, Jackie Neely, of New Tazewell, TN, Betty Neely, of Knoxville, TN, Mrs. Odra (Mercedes) Beeler, of New Tazewell, TN, Mrs. Hugh (Gonyou) Hardin, of Tazewell, TN, Mrs. Tommy (Sylvia) Harmon, of New Tazewell, TN; Brothers-in-Law: Jefferson Davis (J.D.) Harmon, of New Tazewell, TN, Hollis Cole of New Tazewell, TN. Several nieces, nephews, a host of many other relatives and friends.
The family will receive friends Wednesday, November 28, 2012, from 4 PM until 7 PM at Midway Baptist Church with funeral services to follow at 7 PM at the church with the Rev. Ronnie Pressnell officiating. Eulogy by Mr. Roger Ball, Music by David and Stephanie Cole, Jamie Brown and Kenny Trent.
Graveside services will be conducted Thursday, November 29, 2012, at 11 AM in the Fairview Cemetery. Pallbearers: Alan Neely, Jeff Neely, Mark Heath, Wes Gilliam, Tyler Overholt and David Heath. Honorary Pallbearers: Jerry Neely, Robert Minton and Dennis Reece.
Claiborne-Overholt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. www.claibornefuneralhome.com