Retired 1SG (E-8) Willie McNeely. Born August 25, 1931 to the late Jabe and Ericka McNealey, he was preceded in death by siblings, Garlin McNealey, Jabie Oden, Eula Kelley, Sarah Spooney, Alice Traylor, and Betty McNealey. Willie departed this life on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at the age of 89 (really 90).
He was married to the devoted Eloise Sparks McNeely for 67 years. To this union 7 children were born Ricardo “Rick” (Ann) McNeely, Olympia, WA; Warren (the late Cathy) McNeely, Bellevue, OH; Gary McNeely, Suffolk, VA; Gail Garrett (Patrick), Huntsville, AL; Wayne (Annie) McNeely, Columbus, MS; Brenda McNeely, Shorter, AL; Sabrina Jemison, Hoover, AL; a special grandson, Corey McNeely, Huntsville, AL and a special God-daughter, Shafunda Richards, Madison, AL. Sixteen grandchildren, Terrance McNeely, Ricardo (Mac) McNeely, Isaiah McNeely, Mitchell McNeely, Matthew McNeely, Jermaine McNeely, Jordan McNeely, Joshua McNeely, Trawaski McNeely, Darius McNeely, Lauren McNeely, Corey McNeely, Christopher McNeely, Camille McNeely, Trey Jemison and Kayla Jemison .His military career led him all over the world and he ensured his wife and children accompanied him on every tour.
He also enjoyed the love and support of his brothers, Rev. A.D. McNealey, Sylacauga, AL; Frank McNealey, Sylacauga, AL; and two sisters, Mrs. Maczinnia (Robert) Miller, Sylacauga, AL; and Linda Liggins, Akron, OH. He also leaves a sister-in-law, Annie R. Hention of Atlanta, GA.
Willie was a true soldier. He loved his country, loved his family, and was a 40-year successful entrepreneur with only a 9th grade education. He was a military trailblazer for his family with sons, grandsons, great grandsons and nephews having stellar military careers. He was well known and well-loved in the Sylacauga community and throughout Talladega County. He took pride in his community and demanded no less from his fellow neighbors. He was a gifted carpenter and his work can be seen throughout Talladega County. Very outspoken, he would always tell you how to be better, with no filter. He spoke the truth but you knew he loved you.
A devoted husband and caregiver to his disabled wife for the past 8 years, he promised never to put her in a nursing home despite the challenges of her care. They lived out the true meaning of their wedding vows, especially in sickness and in health. He was a great provider for his children and grandchildren, although the provision came with an extensive lecture and a purpose.
He will be missed by a host of cousins, special nieces and nephews.
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