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1925 Donna 2017

Donna Mae (Blaney) Neely

February 4, 1925 — November 6, 2017

ST. JOHNSVILLE, N.Y. -- Donna Mae (Blaney) Neely, 92, of St. Johnsville passed away peacefully on Monday evening, Nov. 6, 2017 at St. Johnsville Rehabilitation and Nursing Center where she had resided for the last three years. Born Feb. 4, 1925, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, she was the daughter of Webster F. and Francis H. Blaney. She grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. It was there she met and married her late husband Ralph H. Neely. They married on Dec. 21, 1945. He predeceased her on Sept. 8, 2009. Survivors include one son, Lawrence Neely and his wife Marilyn of Stratford; three grandchildren, Christopher L. Neely of Little Falls, Allen L. Neely Sr. of Cooleemee, N.C., and Sarah E. Neely of Latham, N.Y.; and three great-grandchildren, Jayce C. Neely of Little Falls and Allen L. Neely Jr. and Amelia M. Neely of Cooleemee, N.C.  Donna was predeceased by two brothers, Donald and Jerry Neely, and a sister, Aileen Kimberly. She was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Drake University in Des Moines in 1948 where she received a bachelor’s degree in English. The couple moved to Oviedo, Florida, in 1957. She became a school teacher at Oviedo High School in the early 1960s where she taught Spanish, English and humanities. She received her master’s degree in education from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., in 1965. Later she attended graduate school at the University of Mississippi to become certified in guidance counseling. She retired from public schools in 1985. She co-authored the book “Oviedo: Biography of a Town” in 1979 with Dr. Richard Adicks, English professor at the University of Central Florida. The book traced the history of city of Oviedo in Central Florida, the community where she lived a majority of her adult life, from its founding as the Lake Jesup community shortly after the Civil War to the modern times. The book, now in its third printing, was nominated for the Florida Historical Society’s Most Outstanding Book on Florida History in 1979. She also authored a weekly column in the Oviedo newspaper in the 1970s and 1980s. The column, “Over the Coffee Cup”, won numerous awards from the Orlando Press Club and Florida Press Association. After retirement she and Ralph moved to Freedom Square, a retirement facility in Seminole, Florida, which they used for a base for travel until Ralph’s health deteriorated. After his death, she moved to upstate New York where she resided for five years with her son and his family in Little Falls and Stratford until she moved to St. Johnsville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  The family would like to thank the staff of St. Johnsville Rehabilitation and Nursing Center for the excellent care they gave Donna while she was a resident there. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a memorial donation be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org. At Donna’s request there will be no funeral or memorial service.  Daniel J. Enea Funeral and Cremation Care, 5860 State Route 5 (near St. Mary's Cemetery), between Herkimer and Little Falls, 315-508-5250 has been entrusted with arrangements for cremation.
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