Charles “Charlie” Neff Jr.

Published 1:00 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Charles “Charlie” Neff Jr. of Tryon, N.C., passed away peacefully at home after a long illness on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Charlie is preparing the way for his beloved wife of 67 years, Marjorie, who was by his bedside until the end. Charlie is mourned by his brother, Robert “Bob” Neff and his wife, Anne of Gwynedd, Pa., his son, Charles C. “Chuck” Neff, and his wife, Charlene of Coppell, Texas, daughter, Deborah N. “Debbie” Lynch and her husband, Kim of Columbus, N.C., six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and several nephews and a niece.

He was born on March 18, 1928 to Charles and Eleanor Conaway Neff in Philadelphia, Pa. He graduated from The George School, Newtown, Pa. and The University of Pennsylvania where he attended classes at the Wharton School of Commerce and Finance before receiving his BS in Political Science with the class of 1949. He balanced his studies with membership in the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity where he formed lifelong friends. Charlie continued a family tradition of joining Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) at 18 years of age.

Charlie had a successful career in the steel industry working for US Steel in Philadelphia, Pa., Alan Wood Steel Co. in Conshohocken, Pa. and Carolina Steel Corp. in Greensboro, N.C. His career path led him and his family from Philadelphia, Pa. to Haddonfield, N.J. and then to Fayetteville, N.Y. (a suburb of Syracuse).

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After the family grew up, Charlie and Marjorie headed south to Columbia, S.C. and Johnson City, Tenn. before leaving the steel industry for the world of finance in Tryon, N.C. in 1986. He enjoyed a 22-year successful run as President/Owner of Tryon Financial until his health mandated retirement at 80 years of age.

Charlie balanced a successful career and loving family life with a commitment of service to others. While living in Fayetteville, N.Y. for 17 years he was active in his church as a vestryman and on the Finance Committee. He was involved with the Boy Scouts as a leader and a Troop Committee member. Wherever he lived, he was always an active member of his church.

Soon after his arrival in Polk County, N.C., Charlie became involved not only in his church but the community. Charlie and Marjorie both became members of the Tryon Kiwanis Club. He served as a President and a board member for many years. Charlie was the driving force in establishing the Tryon Kiwanis Club Foundation. He was extremely active in both the Tryon Thermal Belt and Polk County Chambers of Commerce. Charlie was instrumental in their merger that formed what is now known as the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce. He was their treasurer for many years and also served on the Board of Directors and as President.

He was a co-founder, with Jim Tabb, of the Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival which began in 1992 and ran consecutively for 23 years as the largest fund raiser for the Chamber. His primary job at the BBQ was in the counting house. He was inducted into the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2009 for his many years of service.

Charlie served on the advisory committee of the inaugural group of the Foothills Leadership Initiative sponsored by the Chamber. He also served on the Polk County Economic Development Council from 1987-1992 and the Polk Vocational Advisory Board for many years receiving a Distinguished Service Award in 2006.

Amazingly, while being so active with his career, church and civic service he found time to be a huge supporter for his children and grandchildren in their educational pursuits and could be found at most home games cheering on his offspring in various sports – football, baseball, crew, basketball and soccer. As his grandchildren started careers and families Charlie took an active interest and was always ready with a smile; to give encouragement and sound advice.

Charlie was a member of St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church, Flat Rock, N.C., where services will be held on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 2 p.m. with a reception immediately following in the Parish Hall. There will be visitation from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, July 14, 2017 at The McFarland Funeral Chapel in Tryon, N.C.

The family requests that donations be given to The Tryon Kiwanis Club Foundation Scholarship Fund, The Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Four Seasons Hospice – Flat Rock or St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church in lieu of flowers.

McFarland Funeral Chapel
Tryon, N.C.