Verna Catherine Von Harten Neeley of Denmark, South Carolina, died peacefully at her home on May 23, 2019. She was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, on December 12, 1928, to the late Clarence Henry (Zoo) Von Harten and Jessie Verna (Ruby) Rivers Von Harten. She was married for almost 68 years to Samuel Arthur Neeley, who survives her. Mrs. Neeley was preceded in death by her parents; her brother C. H. (Sonny) Von Harten, Jr.; and her grandson J. Michael Crafaik, III. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her brother William Rivers (Skeet) Von Harten of Beaufort; daughter, Kathryn Angelyn (Kay) Neeley of Charlottesville, Virginia; daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth Rivers (Betsi) Neeley Jordan and Jack Shepard (Shep) Jordan of Hopkins, South Carolina; grandsons Samuel Arthur Crafaik, William Elliott Neeley Crafaik and Elliott’s wife, Kathryn Grantham (Katie) Crafaik, all of Charlottesville, Virginia; 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 her life as she did theirs.
She graduated from Limestone College where she majored in Commerce, a program that combined shorthand, typing, bookkeeping, and office practice with teacher training. Over the years, she used her educational background in diverse ways. After graduation, she taught in Allendale, where she met Sam Neeley on a blind date; after her marriage, she taught in Olar. When her older daughter was six months old, she went to work as a bookkeeper and office assistant in the practice of Dr. Joseph D. Thomas. She worked in Dr. Thomas’ office for over 50 years and formed lifetime friendships with Dr. Thomas, his family, and the nurses and other people who kept the practice running smoothly. When she and Sam established Neeley Appliance Company in 1955 and until they retired in 1988, she helped organize the office and keep the books for the company. The role of technology in accounting and office practice expanded rapidly during that time, and she approached learning new systems with the same determination she had shown in completing her college education.
Mrs. Neeley also launched two business ventures on her own. When the Amtrak trains began providing passenger service to Denmark in 1978, she established the Denmark Travel Service. Although the initial impetus for establishing that business was to sell Amtrak tickets, she expanded it to include other products such as guided trips to New York City. She took particular pleasure in having mastered the layout of New York and being able to help others navigate the city and enjoy the diversity of what it had to offer. After retirement from Neeley Appliance Company, she became a sales representative for the Doncaster Clothing Company. In this particular business venture, Sam supported her. Always a stylish dresser, she enjoyed learning about the qualities that made Doncaster clothing distinctive and the process of helping women select and custom fit clothing that would make them feel and look great.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Neeley had an artistic streak that manifested itself in many different ways: first piano and sewing; then gardening, flower arranging, knitting, and ceramics; various forms of painting on wood, ceramics, and clothing; and finally photography and scrapbooking, which left all of her family, but especially her grandsons, Arthur and Elliott, with aesthetically rich records of their lives. Over their long relationship, she and Sam enjoyed travel and dancing, especially the Shag and Cha Cha. In her seventies, she learned the Electric Slide and taught it to her daughters. Along the way, she served as a Girl Scout troop leader and member of various committees at Bethel Park United Methodist Church, where she sang in the church choir and was frequently called upon to make her famous deviled eggs for church events.
A memorial service celebrating Mrs. Neeley’s life will be held at Bethel Park United Methodist Church in Denmark on Sunday, May 26 at 3 p.m. The family will receive visitors from 2 to 2:45 p.m. in the church social hall and invite everyone to join them after the service at the Neeley Big House at Sojourner Campground at Holman’s Bridge, 38 River Front Lane, Blackville, South Carolina 29817. The family requests that memorials be given to Bethel Park United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 207, Denmark, SC 29042.
Folk Funeral Home, Denmark, SC is assisting the family with arrangements. Visit our on-line registry at www.folkfuneralhome.com.
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