Seed World

Executive Vice President of the Texas Seed Trade Association for 22 Years, Othel Neely, Passes Away

Othel Neely, age 94, passed away September 6, 2020, surrounded by his family. There will be a private family service Saturday, with a celebration of life to follow at a later date. Othel was the Executive Vice President of the Texas Seed Association for the past 22 years.

Othel Neely was born on June 21, 1926, in Tolar, Texas. Othel married Mary Ruth McFall at the Speegleville Baptist Church in 1956.

He attended Tarleton and Texas A&M before entering the Army during WWII. After graduating from Texas A&M in 1948, Othel taught Vocational Agriculture at University High School. He became the head of the Agriculture Department of the Waco Chamber of Commerce, and then became manager of the Heart of Texas Coliseum. In 1959, Othel became manager of the Texas Seed Trade Assoc., where he remained until 1981. Upon retirement and until the week of his passing, Othel continued his involvement in commercial real estate, land development, home building and the oil industry.

He was a member and officer of the Kiwanis Club and he has served on many boards and committees in Waco and McLennan County. Othel has received numerous awards for his service to the seed industry, the city of Waco, the Heart of Texas Fair & Rodeo, and the Heart of Texas Home Builders Assoc., where he was named Builder of the Year. He was a director of American Bank for over 30 years. He served as chairman of the board of the Heart of Texas Fair and president of the Heart of Texas Homebuilders Association. Othel was president of the Texas Association of Fairs and Expositions, director of the Texas Association of Association Executives, director of the Former Student’s Association at Texas A&M University, and a trustee at Hillcrest Baptist Hospital.

His hobbies included raising registered Brangus cattle, playing bridge, gin rummy, 42, and traveling extensively. Most of all he loved any and all things related to Texas A&M University.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Ruth Neely; children, Phil and Nancy Neely of Waco; Bob and Elizabeth Neely Baldridge of Plano; Bryan and Ruth Neely Kaminski of Plano; ten grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Affectionately known as Big O to his children, grandchildren and many others, he will be greatly missed! He was a man who loved God and loved others in a powerful way, and everyone who knew him got to experience that love. He truly modeled grace to both family and friends, and his impact was widespread. We are especially thankful for the impact he had on our lives, and we know as he was ushered into the Lord’s presence on Sunday evening, he got to hear this, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Arthritis Foundation at The family invites you to leave a message or memory on our “Tribute Wall” at