Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Cecil Nowlin Neely, 84, of Madisonville, passed away on Friday, June 1, 2018, at his home. A celebration of his life is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, at First United Methodist Church in Madisonville, with the Rev. Patricia Wehn-Glowski officiating. Burial with military honors will immediately follow at Madisonville City Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, at Day Funeral Home Chapel in Madisonville.
Gen. Neely was born on November 23, 1933, in Navasota, to Cecil Jasper and Ruby Maguerite (Wooster) Neely and graduated from Madisonville High School. On April 18, 1958, he enlisted as a private in the United States Army, where he served his country proudly for 29 years, and at the time of his retirement, he held the rank of brigadier general. Soon after his enlistment, he married his high school sweetheart, Margie Lynn Hardy, on April 26, 1958, and together, they had three children, Michael Lane Neely, Russell Nowlin Neely and Susan Lynn (Neely) Standley.
Gen. Neely served one tour in the Korean War, two tours in the Vietnam War, served as a staff member of the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon, and served as the Nation’s Duty Officer for President of The United States Ronald Reagan and for Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. During his career, Gen. Neely was awarded numerous medals and citations including the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. During this time, he graduated from The University of Nebraska with his bachelor’s degree, Sam Houston State University with his master’s degree, and from the United States War College.
Upon his retirement from the military, Gen. Neely began his second career serving his county from 1995 to 2007 as the Constitutional County Judge of Madison County and was a member of The Brazos Valley Council of Governments, where he served as Chairman for two years.
In his later years, Gen. Neely spent time traveling to watch his grandchildren playing sports, hunting, fishing, and spending time at the lake with his family. He followed Aggie sports with a passion, often taking his grandchildren and his grandchildren’s friends to Aggie sporting events.
Gen. Neely has been inducted into the infantry “Hall of Fame” at Fort Benning, Ga., has been recognized as a “distinguished alumni” at Sam Houston State University, has been inducted into the “CHSS Wall of Honor” at Sam Houston State University, and he and his family have endowed a scholarship for the College of Business Administration at Sam Houston State University.
Gen. Neely has left a legacy of service and duty and will be greatly missed.
Gen. Neely was preceded in death by his parents, and is survived by his wife, Lynn Neely; his children, Michael Lane Neely and his wife Karla, Russell Nowlin Neely and his wife Nancy, and Susan Lynn (Neely) Standley and her husband Jim; grandchildren, LeighAnn Fuchs and her husband Cody, Ryan Neely, J.D. Standley, Rusty Neely, Zachary Neely, Lexi Standley and Jacob Neely; and great-grandchildren, Rustyn, Charli Jo and Wyatt Fuchs.
Serving as pallbearers are Cody Fuchs, Rusty Neely, Ryan Neely, J.D. Standley, Zachary Neely and Jacob Neely. Serving as honorary pallbearers are Kenneth Andrews, Buddy Barrett, Ellwood Barrett, Sonny Dean, John Hardy, Retired County Judge Art Henson, Gen. (Ret.) Al Jones, Roger Knight, Don Lasiter, Jim Standley, Alan Tinsley, Dave Ward and Rick Welton.