Home - Breaking news - JAMES G. NEELY 1941-2017
James Neely
James Neely

JAMES G. NEELY 1941-2017

Former Commissioner of Labor



HUNTINGDON – James Glen “Jim” Neely, 76, of Huntingdon, Tennessee, died Wednesday June 14, 2017.

Funeral services are 3 p.m. Sunday June 18, 2017 at the Huntingdon First United Methodist Church. Interment will follow in Bethlehem Cemetery. Dr. Jerry Jeffords, Pastor Mark Carrigan and Brother Kenneth Massey will officiate.

Mr. Neely was born to the late Otis “Cokie” Neely and Louis Neely on April 28, 1941 in the Rosser Community of Carroll County, Tenn.. He was preceded in death by brothers, Earl and Joe Neely, and a sister, Linda Neely Wilson. He graduated from Huntingdon High School,  where he was a student-athlete and attended the University of Tennessee at Martin.

He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Huntingdon, Tennessee and a 50-year member of both the Scottish Rite, and the Al Chymia Shrine.

He was 2007 Carroll Countian of the Year and 2010 Huntingdon’s Outstanding Citizen.

He began his career as a bundle boy with the Publix Shirt Corporation in Huntingdon where he also served as a union steward with the Amalgated Clothing Workers. From there his career continued and included elections and service for 28 years as president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Jim served as commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development under two Governors, Ray Blanton and Phil Bredesen. He worked, always, to provide opportunities for Tennesseans.

As a U.S. government representative on a goodwill mission trip to Germany, he met with foreign Government leaders and members of NATO. Throughout his career he served on various federal, state, regional, and local boards and commissions. He was a longtime member of the following boards where he served as Chairpersons for many: the Workforce Development Board, the Tenn. State Employment Security Advisory Board, the Tenn. Job Partnership Council, the Tenn. Safety Congress Board of Directors, the Advisory Board for the Federal Reserve Board in Atlanta, the Executive Steering Committee of Tenn. Center of Labor Management Relations, the Tenn. Technical Vocation Educational Council, and the Huntingdon Special School District Board of Education, on which he served as chairman for many years.

During his career, he received many prestigious awards: 2004 Eagle Award from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, 2005 Distinguish Service Individual of the Year by the National Association of Career Technical Education, 2007 Professional of the year of Tenn. Industrial Development Council, 2010 Adult Education Task Force Award, and the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tenn. Labor Management Foundation. In 2010 the Tenn. Career Center located in Huntingdon, Tenn., and serving multiple counties, was named for him.

James always considered his greatest achievements to be his family: his wife of 56 years, Rachel Todd Neely, his daughter, Hope Neely Turner (Michael), and his three granddaughters, Neely (16), Mary Catherine (14), and Caroline (9).

The family will receive friends on Saturday, June 17 at Dilday-Carter Funeral Home from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. and on Sunday at Dilday-Carter Funeral Home from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Dilday-Carter Funeral Home of Huntingdon is in charge of arrangements 731-986-8281.

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