Kenneth Copeland Neeley, 88, of Amarillo, TX passed away on January 10, 2023.
Services will be at 2:00 P.M., Saturday, January 14, 2023, at St. Stephen United Methodist Church with Dr. Jim Smith officiating. Burial will be at Memory Gardens Cemetery. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo.
Kenneth was born deep into the Depression on July 24, 1934, at McAdoo, Texas. The morning of his birth, the ‘government men’ came to the farm and slaughtered 50 head of cattle as a part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933. Later that day, Kenneth was born to Annie Daniel Copeland Jay Neeley and Carl (C.C.) Neeley. Annie had cancer at the time of his birth, and she would succumb to the illness three months later leaving one son, six daughters, and the infant son, Kenneth. His dear Aunt Clara took Kenneth home and raised him as her own for the next two years.
Though Kenneth had a rough beginning, he was surrounded by his loving sisters and brother throughout his life. Kenneth’s daddy raised him along with his siblings through his teens. During the west Texas summers, Kenneth would sleep on top of the root cellar door each night where a cool breeze made the nights pleasant, and he would bathe by jumping into the windmill tank.
Times were rough farming in those years, but the dirt was dark and rich. Kenneth would drive to Fort Worth to sell sheep and cattle and helped his Daddy work the land. Kenneth’s first car was given to him by his brother Koy. He worked on his car to keep it running and used a distinctive rocking chair as a front seat. Kenneth adored his father and learned many carpentry skills as a young man.
At 18, Kenneth met the lovely Marlaine Driggers, and they were to marry in 1955 when Kenneth was 20 and Marlaine was 17. Some felt that it would never work, but sixty-seven and a half years later, they were still in love like newlyweds. In 1956, Kenneth (Ken) Copeland Neeley, Jr. was born and would later be followed by Karla Luan Neeley in 1959.
Kenneth worked for Southwestern Public Service Company in Systems Operations, first hauling poles and digging holes and later moving into dispatching and other positions during the 1970s in the corporate offices until he retired in 1981, as an estimating engineer. In the early years, they lived in a 28-foot trailer house moving some thirty-two times so that the family could be together. Kenneth and Marlaine started purchasing rental property in 1970 and continued adding to their inventory throughout the years. Kenneth worked endless hours running the business and maintaining his properties.
Kenneth was a member of St. Stephen United Methodist Church since 1969 and served as an usher for several years. Kenneth and Marlaine were members of the Pathfinders Class.
Kenneth and Marlaine caught the travel bug in the 1980s and visited Europe ten times, the Caribbean, Australia, Africa, Russia, and China. After Marlaine retired from teaching first grade for twenty-six years, you could find Kenneth and Marlaine together all day every day.
Kenneth was very close to his son, Ken, and daughter, Karla. He never raised his voice but when it was time to correct his children, Kenneth would sit down and speak very softly beginning the conversation with “I’m just so disappointed.” His kids never wanted to disappoint him and never wanted ‘the talk’. Kenneth taught his kids the value of hard work and kindness. He was very pleased with his children, and he let them know each time they visited. Kenneth loved his five grandchildren and adored his eight great-grandchildren.
Kenneth was predeceased by his mother and father; siblings, Edith Neeley of McAdoo, Earl Neeley Parker and husband Lee of Jayton, Thresa Neeley Holmes and husband J.T. of Clyde, Koy L Neeley of Lampasas, Winnie D. (Pete) Neeley Burney and husband Eugene (Babe) of Georgetown, Texas, Myra Nell (Polly) Neeley Byrum and husband Pat of Anton, Joan Neeley Power and husband Ellis of Phoenix; two nieces; and one nephew.
Kenneth is survived by his wife, Marlaine; son, Kenneth (Ken) Copeland Neeley, Jr. and wife Dana; granddaughter, Erika Neeley of Austin; grandson, Kenneth Copeland Neeley, III and wife Lauren of Albuquerque; granddaughter, Alexandria Neeley Lee and husband Jordan of Amarillo; and daughter, Karla Luan Neeley Leach and husband Richard of Rock Springs, Wyoming; granddaughter, Laura Hase Tucker and husband Vallen of Haines City, Florida; and granddaughter, Lisa Hase Frosch and husband Brandon of Wiley, Texas. Kenneth has eight great-grandchildren, Summer Frosch (11), Miranda Tucker (9), Katie Beth Frosch (8), Melaney Lee (4), Asher Neeley (4), Andy Neeley (2), Quentin Lee (2), and Hannah Frosch (3 months).