North Carolina-Chapel Hill HS-October 7

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-October 7

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

I have a friend that I owe much to. His name is Jeff Neelon and his story on his  friend Bill Hussey gave my blog Coach4aday some notoriety. That blog post is below.

It was the first blog post I ever did that got more than a handful of views (over 300 in fact). That post let me to write each day in 2015 on the theme of “A Friend of a Friend” .  I wound up doing 365 profiles on people I knew and the friends they had. In 2015 over 50,000 viewers came to Coach4aday to read those posts.

Thanks to Jeff and many other friends I felt like the blog was a success.

Last week Jeff informed me that his Chapel Hill High School Class of 1966 was having its 50th reunion.



I have heard Jeff brag on who he went to high school with but until he sent me the list I had not idea just how iconic a group he was associated with. Below are excerpts from an email Jeff sent me.

Dan: Class of 1966 at Chapel Hill HS was one of the all-time great groups of people from a friendship, success and contribution level.

James Taylor—on the front cover of Time at 20, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 5 Grammys.  He and his three brothers and one sister have released 65 cds.


Alex Julian—only designer to win top awards in clothing and furniture-designed NBA and UNC Tarheel Uniforms.


Bland Simpson—Kenan professor at UNC, author, musician, Broadway playwright-member of Red Clay Ramblers.


Karen Thomas—award winning film maker (she is “Karen is a silver sun”….in Carolina on my Mind)

Kent Collins—Chair of Radio/Television at University of Missouri


Tom West—former producer/anchor on BBC

Patrick Thompson—retired construction attorney who won cases from Atlanta to Las Vegas to Australia.  Has written seven books under the Alan Thompson name.


Mark Phialas.  Shakespearian actor and author


Dorothy Beveridge—author who lives in and writes about Belize.


Cheryle Jernigan—art dealer

John Allison—retired head of BB&T Bank


Bill Wood—former judge

Alvin Whittinghill—founded ministry

Hollie Taylor—artist

Bill McAllister—artist

Viv Mallard—artist (her husband was first director at Strike at the Wind)

Dr. Clyde Milner—head of Heritage Studies at Arkansas State University—noted author on the American West and Native American studies

Carolyn Croft—high up in the US State Department—worked as a nanny for the Kennedys in college

I have lots more success stories on my classmates that excelled in education, law, medicine and business.


In the email above all Jeff wants to do is brag on all of his friends from Chapel Hill High School but he is modest. He has been a successful businessman and is a great collector of friends. He also cherishes his time with his family.


Jeff Neelon as part of the  Chapel Hill HS class of 1966 is noteworthy for a lot of reasons, he has been awarded North Carolina’s highest honor The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. He is a shagger, lover of music, creative thinker, strong community activist and volunteer, and avid runner. Most important he is a great husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

I am impressed what Chapel Hill HS has produced as we look back 50 years later. The most important thing about that class to me is a very personal reason. Jeff Neelon chose me to be one of his many friends that is something I cherish.







One comment

  1. · · Reply

    Wow Got my eyes watery Jeff

    Sent from my iPhone


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