William “Bill” Neeley (79), of Leesburg, Florida passed away at home on Sunday, August 26, 2018. Bill was born on January 27, 1939 in New Brighton, Pennsylvania to Ralph and Margaret Neeley. After graduating from Beavers Falls High School, he went on to serve his country in the Air Force and fight in the Korean War. After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, he continued to work until his illness prevented him from his job as an Operations Manager for an Orlando manufacturing company. A devoted lover of sports – particularly The Pittsburgh Steelers – Bill loved shooting pool, playing ping-pong, and played on multiple softball leagues well into his 60’s. He has often been touted as being “The best dancer in the whole, wide world!”, as he just had natural rhythm. Bill is probably best known andloved for his good-natured sense of humor which really made him more of a prankster.
Bill liked to dress spiffy and had impeccable taste, but it seems as almost every situation brought an opportunity to appreciate his contagious sense of humor. His wife, Valerie remembers a time when they and some friends went to see a basketball game in Orlando. Afterwards, they all had drinks and dinner together. On the way home, Valerie and Bill stopped at a grocery store and it was then that Valerie got a good look at him in the light – Bill’s shirt was completely inside-out! Well the next time the Neeley’s went to an Eagle’s Club for an event, they were greeted with everyone in the club wearing their shirts inside-out. Talk about fraternity and solidarity!
One of the fondest memories for Nancy, his daughter, was Nancy’s 21st birthday. It was such a hoot because try as she and her dad might to get a bartender to card her, it just wasn’t happening. Even with Bill egging on the bartender, saying “You know, she sure does look awful young. Think you ought to card her?”, none of the bartenders would take the bait. Bill and Nancy and her husband Michael, barhopped from 5-6 bars before they passed a 7-11 and he convinced her to go buy beer – surely they would card her. As Nancy is at the cashier, nervously awaiting her turn, Bill in his infinite wisdom and timing hollered out, “I really would card her if I were you!” Nancy whirled around just in time to see her father’s shock of white hair and his beet-red everything else as he fought the laughter that had built up inside him.
Laughter really was Bill’s calling card and sometimes it would get the best of him. For example, he and Valerie went on a vacation in the mountains of North Georgia one time. There were some of those classic cabin beds that were a little finicky about who slept on them, obviously, because when they crawled into it, it snapped closed on them! Bill and Valerie both were laughing so hard to the point that it hurt, neither of them could seem to scramble out of the bed or reopen it. They were literally stuck until they both calmed down! Bill was just an overall good guy. He was a warm and loving husband, a fun and understanding father and a dedicated and reliable friend. His special brand of humor and playfulness are going to be missed by his loved ones and extended family forever.
Bill is predeceased by his parents, Ralph E. Neeley and Margaret Neeley (Cunningham), and his sister Nancy J. Neeley.
He is survived by his wife of 20 years and best friend, Valerie Lynn Edinger of Leesburg, FL; by his brother, Ralph Neeley of Chicago, IL; by his daughter, Nancy L Neeley-Poe and her husband, Michael A. Poe, and their children, Robert, Charles and Mikayla Poe of Winter Springs, FL; he is survived by his son, Charles B. Neeley and his wife, Michelle, and their children, Katie & Ashley Neeley of Aurora, CO; by his daughters; Nicole Jessmer Sikora and her husband, Edward; by his daughter Tiffany Jessmer Ausserlechner, and by his granddaughters, Taylor Ausserlechner and Brooke Sikora; all of Leesburg, FL; by his daughter, Lori A. Kent, and by his grandsons, Joshua, Austin and Jacob of Hartselle, AL; and many, many friends who were loved and were like family.
Services for Bill will be held on Saturday, September 1, 2018 between 2:00 – 4:00 pm at Baldwin Brothers of Tavares – 1350 Burleigh Blvd, Tavares, FL 32778 (441 across from Waterman Hospital). In lieu of flowers, the family wishes to make donations to Vitas Community Connection at http://vitascommunityconnection.org/community-connection/donate .
1350 Burleigh Blvd, Tavares, FL 32778