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Robert Neely 1923-2015

Robert NeelyRobert Joseph (Bob, Bobby Joe) Neely, 92, a resident of rural Grantsburg, passed from this life Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Mr. Neely is survived by his wife, Sharon, (nee Bremer) Foss Neely.

Mr. Neely was born Jan. 22, 1923, in Marion, to Ralph and Lanta (Brush) Neely. He was the beloved grandson of the late Honorable Rufus and Emma Neely and the precious nephew of the late Bertha Otey, Horace Neely and John Neely.

Mr. Neely graduated from Marion High School in 1940. Following high school, Mr. Neely worked for the FBI in Washington, D.C., where he met his late wife, Lois LeMay Neely. While in Washington D.C., he took courses at George Washington University and Georgetown University. He graduated from St. Louis University in 1950 and later became the Metro Division Manager for State Farm Insurance Agency. In 1955, he completed his academic studies with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri Law School at Kansas City, number one in his class, as well as, a member of the prestigious Order of the Bench and Robe. In 1960, Mr. Neely moved his young family to Marion, where he opened his private practice. Mr. Neely served as the Massac County State’s Attorney from 1969 to 1972. In 1972, he moved his practice to Metropolis, and then to Vienna, in 1993, where he has practiced law as a true servant to all until the present time. Mr. Neely practiced law for no other reason than that he loved the truth. He loved serving others, and he truly gave himself to the needs of anyone and everyone through his wisdom and legal practice.

In many ways Mr. Neely has been a father to all. A true man of virtue, Mr. Neely was always concerned about the well-being and care of others. He offered his guidance and wisdom to all he met, and when it came to supporting his neighbor, his generosity truly knew no limits. Whether it was assisting sick friends, providing counsel over coffee at Jumbo Restaurant, finding jobs for those in need or just providing a listening ear for any reason at all, Mr. Neely was always eager to be that friend, that presence of truth, love and fidelity. Mr. Neely was an avid outdoorsman. He had a love for the joy of hunting, running and spending time in the outdoors.

Recently, Mr. Neely said that “there is one thing a person can always count on, and that is laughter. You must always remember to laugh,” and he certainly did just that. Mr. Neely loved to tease and had the most beautiful, from the depths of the heart, laugh which invited all others to join him in his love for joy. Mr. Neely truly lived a full life, and the world was blessed and is better for the grace given in the gift of his life. After 92 years, God finally rewarded Mr. Neely with the sight of Him who is Life and called him to Himself. Mr. Neely's love for truth, virtues, and his laughter still ring in the hearts of those who know him. They raise us to gratitude for having been blessed to have loved and known so great a man.

In the family's words, "Let us pray together for the repose of the soul of Mr. Neely, that his love for truth, fidelity, service and joy may bring him to the fullest and eternal presence of the joy in Christ, that he may hear what all who knew him proclaim in God: 'well done, my good and faithful servant, come enter into the joy of the Lord.' ”

Mr. Neely was united in marriage to Lois LeMay Neely on Feb. 24, 1944, and is the father of Joseph Neely, Marian Neely-Carlson, Susan Casey and William Neely. Mr. Neely was married to Sharon Foss Neely in 1971 and became the stepfather of Cathy Foss Rolfe and Nikki Foss Joyner. He is the grandfather to Katherine Neely, Diana Stewart, Anna Casey, Neal Casey, Matthew Meeks, Michael Meeks, Sister Brigid Mary Meeks, Kendra Joyner, Chuck Rolfe, Bo Rolfe, Ashley Joyner Doctorman and Adam Joyner. In addition, he is the great-grandfather of four children.

Memorial services will be at a later date to be announced.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St., Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1905.

To share a memory of Mr. Neely or to leave an online message of condolence for his family, visit

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Chris Bonjean