In Memory

J. Thornwell Neely, III


James Thornwell Neely III July 20, 1948 - June 2, 2015 ROCK HILL - James Thornwell "Thorn" Neely III passed away peacefully at his residence on June 2, 2015, after two years of declining health. Thorn attended kindergarten through the 10th grade at Winthrop Training School. He played varsity football and was a member of the high school band and prep band. In 1965, Winthrop closed the high school portion of WTS and students were transferred to Rock Hill High School. He ran track, played in the high school band and was involved in various clubs/activities. He graduated in 1967. Thorn attended Presbyterian College and graduated in 1971 with a BS degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Business Administration. He worked in the admissions office at PC after graduation and became Assistant Director of Admissions. He had a close involvement with the College Alumni and Development offices. He was a member of the Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. During employment at Presbyterian College, he had the opportunity to serve as an intern for the Honorable Senator Strom Thurmond and did graduate work at Clemson University in the School of Education. Thorn took a position with Daniel International in Greenville, S.C. in 1976, working in the Personnel Division for College Relations recruiting, screening and hiring seniors from college campuses across the country. He later moved back to Rock Hill and worked for Rock Hill National Bank where he established the Marketing department, was responsible for business development and worked closely with the Lending department. He was active in community affairs and chaired a committee for the Greater Rock Hill Chamber of Commerce, served on the Board of Directors, was past treasurer of the York County Kappa Alpha Order Alumni Association and past chairman of the Retail division of the Greater Rock Hill United Way. He was listed in the 1980 publication of Outstanding Young Men of America. He was a life-long member of Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church, where he served as a Deacon, Sunday School Teacher and Youth Leader. He also served on various church committees. In addition, he was a member of the Rock Hill Salvation Army Advisory Board for ten years and Chairman in 2008 where he assisted in fundraising efforts and guided the Salvation Army through some important projects. He was also active in social activities with his closest friends and immensely enjoyed fellowship with them at Supper Club. In later years as the health of his parents waned, Thorn became a caretaker for both until the death of his father, James Thornwell Neely Jr. in 1999 and his mother, Louise Linden Coward Neely in 2009. Thorn is survived by his sister, Lonnie Lou Neely Rabon. He also leaves behind three nephews (sons of Lonnie Lou and her late husband, Steve) and their families, Stephen Ashley Rabon and his wife, Shannon have four daughters, Hannah, Ellie, Riley and Macy. James Hinson Rabon and his wife, Rebecca have one son, Gavin and a daughter on the way. Graham Lawrence Rabon and his wife, Shanna have two boys, Samuel and Leland. Thorn will be treasured always as a devoted son, brother, uncle and friend. He loved the company of others and delighted in discovering "their stories." He never knew a stranger and will be missed by many. Thorn was a WWII history buff. He enjoyed learning about "The War"- especially about the involvement of his biggest hero, his father. It is for this reason that in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to, an organization dedicated to honoring veterans' service and sacrifices. Donations in his honor may also be sent to Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church - both of these organizations embody Thorn's passion and spirit. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday June 8, 2015, at Laurelwood Cemetery. A service will follow at Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church at 3 pm. Senior Pastor Jeffrey Bryan and Associate Pastor Edgar McCall will officiate the service. A visitation will be held at the church after the service. Online condolences may be registered

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06/04/15 04:56 PM #1    

William White

Sorry to hear about Thorn. I will always remember Thorn as being such a friendly guy who always had a smile on his face. He was such a good person.

Another thing I remember about Thorn is back in the day, he drove a teal color Mercury Cougar that was so big he could have taken the RHHS band from the high school to Friday night football games and still had room for the cheerleaders. That car was so cool.

We will miss you Thorn!

Bill White 

06/06/15 01:46 AM #2    

Billy Adkins

Thorn Neely, is and always will be me friend! We went off to college to Montreat-Anderson College and had  great time there. A bunch of us got together and went on an adventure through the Great Smokey Moutains! He was kind, gentle, a friend always and God can not find a replacement for Thron! Seee you in heaven one day God bless and keep your family at this time!

          Just his friend Billy Adkins

07/11/15 04:38 PM #3    

Henry Freeman

Thorn was for many years a close childhood friend.  We spent many hours together and shared many memories and experiences.  He was a kind and good person who will be missed by many people.



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