Ruth Nevenzel Neely, 93, widow of Edgar A. Neely, Jr., died Dec. 13, 2017 in Decatur, GA. Born in Holland. MI, the daughter of Gerrit & Minnie Nevenzel, Ruth graduated from high school in her hometown and later graduated from Atlanta Law School. She then started and ran her own consulting firm, Atlanta Jury Services. As early as 1947, however, she lived part-time and later full-time in Fernandina, FL.
Aside from being a successful entrepreneur, Ruth enthusiastically pursued a variety of interests: She was a natural athlete, competitive in golf, tennis, and horseback riding. She enjoyed whitewater rafting, deep sea fishing, and international travel. Her contributions to her beloved Fernandina community included serving on the City Council, flying as a solo pilot in the Civil Air Patrol, serving with the “Kitchen Coalition” — an influential group of activist women, and serving on the “Barefoot Alliance” — an ecologically minded group who safeguarded the beach at Fernandina.
Throughout her life, Ruth showed independence of mind, intellectual curiosity, a sense of adventure, strong principles, a competitive spirit, and courage. She was a good listener, wise, a great friend and relative, and modest about her gifts and accomplishments.
Ruth is predeceased by her parents and husband Edgar, her brother Harverd Nevenzel, her sister Marjorie Alberts, and two stepsons Ned Neely (Denise) and Mike Neely (Diana). She is survived by her sister Gertrude Sybesma and her brother Bobby Nevenzel (Barb), both of Holland, MI, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by stepdaughters Constance Neely (Nairobi, Kenya & Scaly Mtn., NC) and Claire Neely (Cambridge, MA) as well as a stepson Alan Neely (Butchie) (Atlanta, GA), and 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
Graveside services were held on Dec. 17, 2017 in Fernandina. The Neely and Nevenzel families wish to thank Ruth’s wonderful caregivers: Annette Russell in Fernandina and Vesta Smith, Miatta Atkins, Retha Surry, and Ettie Mae Jones in Atlanta and the excellent staff at Arbor Terrace of Decatur. The families suggest memorial gifts be made in Ruth’s name to Halcyon Promise Foundation, c/o Halcyon Hospice, 2295 Parkland Dr., Suite 190, Atlanta, GA 30345, or to the charity of your choice.