Samuel Arthur (Sam) Neeley of Denmark, South Carolina, died peacefully at his home on January 2, 2020. He was born on June 20, 1926, to the late David Edward and Nina Bookhardt Neeley. He was married for nearly 68 years to Verna Catherine Von Harten Neeley, who predeceased him on May 23, 2019.
Mr. Neeley had four brothers, Edward Madison Neeley, Walter Bookhardt Neeley, Grady Hardin Neeley, and Theodore Bachman Neeley; and five sisters, Angelyn Neeley Hart, Nina Neeley Martin, Olive (Polly) Neeley Eubanks, and Merrill Neeley Sloan. All of his siblings predeceased him. He was also preceded in death by a grandson J. Michael Crafaik, III. He is survived by his daughters, Kathryn Angelyn (Kay) Neeley of Charlottesville, Virginia, and Elizabeth Rivers (Betsi) Neeley Jordan of Hopkins; a son-in-law, Jack Shepherd (Shep) Jordan; grandsons Samuel Arthur Crafaik and William Elliott Neeley Crafaik and Elliott’s wife Kathryn (Katie) Grantham Crafaik, all of Charlottesville; granddaughter Molly Jordan Sims and her husband, Keith, of Chapin, South Carolina; and great-granddaughters Tyler Jordan Sims, Emma Grace Sims, and Anna Amelia May-Crafaik and her mother Cary Goodloe May of Charlottesville; and numerous nieces, nephews, and adopted family who enriched his life as he did theirs.
Sam graduated from Denmark High School in 1943. His 14 years of employment as a traffic control technician with the Seaboard Railroad were interrupted from June 1944-1946 while serving the U. S. Navy in the Pacific Theatre. In 1955, he acquired what became Neeley Appliance Company and was recognized by the General Electric Company for leadership in marketing home appliances and introducing central heating and air conditioning systems. Sam’s 36 years of elected public service included 24 years on the Denmark City Council, serving as Mayor of Denmark from 1981-1989, and 4 years on the Bamberg County Council, serving as chairman in his inaugural year.
Sam took great pleasure in serving as the public address voice of Denmark Olar High School football for many years. He was a member of the Denmark Masonic Lodge 246 since 1948, a member of Bethel Park Church Choir for 56 years, a strong advocate for better mental health through the South Carolina Mental Health Association, and very active in the Welcome to Denmark beautification program. His most recent civic pleasure was leading folk singing at Grace Residential Care Home in Denmark.
A memorial service celebrating Mr. Neeley’s life will be held on Sunday, January 5, 2020 at 3 p.m. at Bethel Park United Methodist Church in Denmark, S.C. The family will receive visitors in the church social hall from 2 until 2:45 and invite everyone to join them after the service at the Neeley Big House at Sojourner Campground at Holman’s Bridge, 38 Riverfront Lane, Blackville, SC 29817. The family requests that any memorial gifts be sent to Bethel Park United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 207, Denmark, SC 29042, and designated for the Grace Residential Care project.