Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Neelys in:
 • Bonaventure Cemetery
 • Savannah
 • Chatham County
 • Georgia
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Joseph Bowden "Joe" Neely, Jr
Birth: Apr. 20, 1923
Chatham County
Georgia, USA
Death: Nov. 19, 1974
DeKalb County
Georgia, USA

A whiz at math and science as a child, Joseph Bowden Neely, Jr. grew up through the Depression to program some of the first computers in his positions with the Central of Georgia Railroad in Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia and the Southern Railway System in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Joe got his first full-time job at the Central of Georgia Railroad through his stepfather's sister, Georgia Riley. He was a graduate of Savannah High School and attended Calvary Baptist Temple in Savannah. He served in the U. S. Army from March 2, 1943 through March 2, 1946. As part of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) during World War II, he attended both the University of Dayton and the University of Illinois. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Tec 5.

Joe was born at home at 524 West York Street in Savannah at 5:30 am on Friday, April 20, 1923 the son of Joseph Bowden Neely, Sr. and Nettie Donnie King Neely Riley. At birth he weighed 7 pounds and 8 ounces. Like his mother and daughter, he had hazel green eyes, black hair, and was of medium height. Like his daughter and granddaughter, his blood type was O+. His stepfather was Harry Riley. Joe and his younger brother Robbie were raised by their widowed mother after their father's death in 1928. A Mason (Landrum Lodge 48, Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Savannah), a veteran of World War II, and a member of the American Legion, he was married on Saturday, August 21, 1943 at the First Baptist Church in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio to his high school sweetheart Kathleen Bell Neely. Kathleen and Joe had met backstage at Savannah High School in a pageant in which Joe played Indian chief Tomochichi and Kathleen played a Greek goddess. Their only child is Sharlotte ("Sharkey") Kathleen Neely Donnelly (anthropologist, wife, mother, and grandmother).

On the same day, August 21, 1943, Joe's ASTP buddy, Dayton Clyde Royall, and his bride Edith Mangum Royall Potter were married at the same church. Kathleen had taken the train from Savannah, Georgia to Raleigh, North Carolina, and she and Edith then drove from Raleigh to Dayton, Ohio.

Joe, Kathleen, and Sharlotte lived in Savannah (mostly at 2204 Texas Avenue, and then 12 Wilshire Boulevard) until 1962 and then moved to the Atlanta area (where they mostly lived at 2094 Myrtle Lane, Apt. 6 in Decatur). Their only grandchild is Mary Kathleen Bridgette Elisabeth Donnelly. Their only great-grandchild is Mary Kathleen Quinn Donnelly, pictured here between her great-grandparents' graves. His only brother was James Robert ("Robbie") Neely, Sr. Joe and Robbie had twin brothers who were born and died before Joe and Robbie were born. Throughout his life Joe was committed to donating blood on a regular basis, and this fact has influenced his granddaughter Bridgette to donate blood on a regular basis. Joe died of a heart attack, just before Thanksgiving, at age 51 in the early morning hours on Tuesday, November 19, 1974 at DeKalb General Hospital in DeKalb County, Georgia. He is buried in the Neely family plot in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah next to his beloved wife Kathleen.

Everything fascinated Joe, and he passed along his love of learning to his daughter Sharlotte. Joe's ancestry is Irish, French, English, and--through the Sarvis surname--coastal Carolina Native American.

Most of this information comes from his wife Kathleen Bell Neely and his daughter Sharlotte Neely Donnelly. Any errors are mine alone. Please go to the "edit" link on this site with any corrections or additions.
Family links: 
  Joseph Bowden Neely (1888 - 1928)
  Nettie Donnie King Neely Riley (1892 - 1958)
  Manie Kathleen Bell Neely (1922 - 2005)*
  Twin #2 Neely (1920 - 1920)*
  Twin #1 Neely (1920 - 1920)*
  Joseph Bowden Neely (1923 - 1974)
  James Robert Neely (1927 - 2007)*
*Calculated relationship
Bonaventure Cemetery
Chatham County
Georgia, USA
Plot: Section L, Lot 355, Space 10
Created by: Sharlotte Neely Donnelly
Record added: Sep 15, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 5058356
Joseph Bowden Joe Neely, Jr
Added by: Sharlotte Neely Donnelly
Joseph Bowden Joe Neely, Jr
Added by: Sharlotte Neely Donnelly
Joseph Bowden Joe Neely, Jr
Added by: Sharlotte Neely Donnelly
There are 18 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Michael Stanley Klimczak
 Added: May. 9, 2017

- Alan Humphrey
 Added: May. 4, 2017
Love you, Daddy!
- Sharlotte
 Added: Apr. 24, 2017
There are 777 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
This page is sponsored by: Sharlotte Neely Donnelly

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service