DENMARK -- Samuel Arthur “Sam” Neeley of Denmark, died peacefully at his home on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.
Mr. Neeley 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, Ed, Walter, Grady and Ted, and five sisters, Angelyn Hart, Nina Martin, Polly Eubanks and Merrill 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, Kay Neeley and Betsi Neeley Jordan; a son-in-law, Shep Jordan; grandsons, Samuel Arthur Crafaik and William Elliott Neeley Crafaik and Elliott's wife, Katie; granddaughter, Molly Jordan Sims and her husband, Keith; great-granddaughters, Tyler and Emma Grace Sims and Anna May-Crafaik, and Anna's mother, Cary May; and numerous nieces, nephews, and adopted family who enriched his life as he did theirs.
Sam graduated from Denmark High School, worked for the Seaboard Railroad, and served in the U.S. Navy from June 1944-1946. In 1955, he acquired Neeley Appliance Company and won many awards from General Electric Company for leadership in sales and service. Sam's 36 years of elected public service included 24 years on the Denmark City Council, eight years as mayor of Denmark, and four years on the Bamberg County Council, one of those a chair.
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Sam was the sports announcer for Denmark-Olar High School football; belonged to the Denmark Masonic Lodge and Lions Club; sang in Bethel Park choir for 56 years; advocated for better mental health at local, state, and national levels; and was 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 at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, at Bethel Park United Methodist Church in Denmark. The family will receive visitors in the church social hall from 2 until 2:45 and invites 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.
Folk Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Visit our online registry at www.folkfuneralhome.com.