Samuel Ray Neely
Samuel Ray Neely

October 19, 1936January 22, 2018 (81 years old)
Hometown: Plant City, FL
October 19, 1936January 22, 2018
(81 years old) | Plant City, FL

Life Story

Samuel Ray Neely was born October 19, 1936 at 305 Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee.

He passed to his heavenly home from Plant City, Florida on Monday, January 22, 2018.

He was father to Doris Ann Neely Fontana, Janice Faye Neely Barlar (James Houston Barlar, Jr.), Lauretta Lynn Neely Passmore (Danny Lee Passmore, Sr.), and Ryan Christopher Neely (Pamela Diane Smith).

Sam was all about serving the Lord and raising his children. He was a strong, independent man. He became a single parent who took his daughters to church every time the doors opened. His mother and his sister, Betty, came to help him with his three young daughters. Betty’s daughter, Jeanine Susan Williams, became a much-loved sister to his daughters. Sam provided a childhood full of memories for his daughters that centered around church youth group activities.  Throughout Sam’s life he enjoyed two hobbies: fixing things that were broken and reading. Often he read about how to fix what was broken. He also loved to read about Rev. Smith Wigglesworth.

During the last five years of his life, he was diagnosed with myelodysplasia and myelofibrosis. The Lord led him to Dr. Sara Tinsley at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. The Lord used Sara to give us an additional four years together. The summer before his diagnosis, Sam did two significant things: He traveled alone to Alaska putting over 14, 000 miles on his truck in 30 days; and he purchased a motorcycle. On one sunny Saturday morning he proceeded to call each of his children and say “Guess what I just did?”  He then told about how he had stood on his lawnmower to get onto his motorcycle then driven to Walmart where he discovered he could not get off the bike. He asked a nearby stranger to help him. After shopping, he stood on the curb to get back on his bike and drive home. After his passing it was discovered that he had a motorcycle accident less than six months before he passed. He did not tell a soul about this accident, as he knew his children would protest him keeping the motorcycle. That was Sam Neely. But more than that, he was a devoted Christian. He attended church faithfully. He paid his tithes and donated generously to his church’s building fund.

Sam graduated from Watkins Institute – Nashville Auto Diesel College. He was certified in welding, electricity, and air conditioning.

Sam’s employment included:

Avis Truck Rental, Maintenance Supervisor

Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Tampa, Director of Fleet Operations

Parker Communication, Inc., Director of Field Operations

Special Events International, Inc., Vice President/Operations

He was grandfather to Mark Anthony Fontana, Jonathan Mathew Fontana, David Allen Fontana, James Houston Barlar III, Jacob Samuel Barlar, Hailey Ann Neely, and Carlie JoLee Neely.

His brothers and sisters included Milton Haskell Neely, Jr. (Roberta), Betty Mae Neely Williams, Anna Lee Neely Johnson (Ernie), Buddy Neely (Lois), Judith Elaine Neely Tyler (Dean), and Larry Thomas Neely (Janie).

His parents were Milton Haskell Neely and Mabel Williams Neely. Grandparents include: Albert B. (aka Squire) Neely and Lucy Alta May Murphy Neely. Great grandparents include: Hugh Adolphus Neely and Martha Jane Hargis Neely.

Lucy May Murphy’s parents: Samuel Murphy and Harriet Elizabeth Wells. Lucy’s grandparents: Mitchell Wells and Minerva Matthews Wells.

In the spring of 1885, Hugh Adolphus Neely and his wife, Martha, sold their farm in Overton County and made their way down a rough wagon trail to an area in Clay County, which later became known as Neelys Cross Roads, after Albert B. Neely.