JOSEPH NEELEY was born December 19, 1934 to Edward and Josephine Neeley. Joseph’s father passed away when he was in the tenth grade. He dropped out of Haven Home High School in Savannah, Georgia to help in the support of his family, finding odd jobs. His mother wanted more for him and encouraged him to enter into the military, and he did.
Joseph enlisted into the United States Navy on April 6, 1955. While serving his country, he was offered the opportunity to complete high school. He studied and received his GED. He did not stop taking courses. He was energized and took as many courses in his field, and began to take college courses offered for advancement.
The Navy offered him a chance for growth and development. As a Boatswain mate, he seized any and every opportunity offered. He later became a classroom instructor, a career counselor, and a Deep Water Environmental Classroom and Swimming Instructor. He taught hundreds of sailors how to swim.
Joseph had a soft, pleasant demeanor that would draw people to what he taught. The military stated that he was well-respected; fair and honest. It was easy for trainees to trust and respect him. He was also a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Instructor, teaching sailors Escape and Evasion on military ships. He was certified yearly to teach these courses. Joseph retired as Chief Boatswain Mate from the Navy on October 31, 1977.
After retiring from the Navy, his new civilian life of learning included San Diego City College and a new career with a different job at North Island, where he became a mechanic. He retired from North Island during the early 1990s. He followed his love of learning and received an Associate of Arts Degree in Industrial Supervision, and later received another Associate of Arts Degree in Real Estate.
Joseph enjoyed attending church. He united with Bayview Baptist Church on December 9, 1990, under the leadership of the late Dr. Timothy J. Winters. He truly enjoyed the fellowship and membership of the Welcome Committee. He was also a member of the Silver Strands, where he served as President. With that bass voice, he joined the men’s choir. Joseph was involved in many other church activities, giving of his time and service until he could no longer participate.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Josephine Neeley.
On Friday, October 5, 2018, James Neeley was called from earthly labor to eternal rest. He leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife: Hazel Neeley; his stepson: Matthew Brown of San Diego, CA; his sister: Eddie May Neeley of Savannah, GA; four brothers-in-law: Raymond (Christine) Stokes, Clyde (Mary) Stokes, Clinton Stokes, Clifford (Helen) Stokes all of Pensacola, FL and Larry Stokes of Surprise, AZ; one sister-in-law: Barbara Lockridge of Las Vegas, NV; and a host of cousins, other relatives and friends who will mourn his passing, yet celebrate his life.
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