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Alumni Happenings - December 2005
Grand County High School

Jerry McNeely and Kathey Brown McNeely
by Jeff Richards

Jerry & Kathy McNeelyGrand County High School alumni Jerry McNeely (Class of 1960) and Kathey Brown McNeely (Class of 1968) have both been deeply rooted in Grand County schools throughout their lives.

Kathey, who currently teaches 3rd grade at Red Rock Elementary School, is now in her 33rd year of teaching for Grand County School District. After graduating from high school, she attended Utah State University before marrying Jerry in 1970. She remembers teaching several of her current students’ parents over the years, and adds only half-jokingly, “One of these days, I’m going to get a grandkid (of one of my former students).”

Kathey and Jerry have two sons, Jeremy, 28, and Rod, 25, both of whom live in the Salt Lake area. Jerry also has two daughters (Kathey’s step-daughters): Tammy Maughan of Moab and Lori Otero of Salt Lake. Kathey and Jerry are also the proud grandparents of four grandchildren, three girls and a boy.

Kathy McNeely 1968Jerry worked for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Resources Division for 25 years before retiring in 1994. He had nine years’ experience as a land surveyor and also worked as a mining engineer. Although Jerry has been retired for more than a decade, he and Kathey continue to enjoy an active lifestyle. They love going four-wheeling, hiking, camping, and fishing together up in the mountains. Also, Kathey is currently taking Shorinji Kempo marital arts classes. “I also recently went skydiving with two friends,” she adds. “It was totally awesome.”

Meantime, Jerry has served on the Grand County Council since 2001, and is now one year into his second term. He is the council chairman. An avid fan of athletics, Jerry enjoys attending sporting events, particularly those involving Grand County High School. Last month, he attended the Red Devils’ state football championship game in Cedar City, a 25-22 victory over San Juan that marked Grand’s first-ever football state title. Also among the thousand or so Moabites present at that game was former GCHS coach Glen Richeson, who took the Red Devils to the state championship game three times (in 1962, 1964, and 1975) during his long coaching career.

Jerry McNeely 1960“My senior year (1959-60) was Coach Richeson’s first year,” Jerry recalls. “That same year, John Benson also became the basketball coach, and we really started to have good teams in both of those sports.”

Jerry says he liked being able to participate in various sports during high school, and remembers needing to maintain at least a C+ grade point average to stay eligible for sports. He also served as president of the letterman’s club. He sums up his high school days as “sports, girls, and cars” and says he remembers Moab as being a great place for a teenager to grow up in the early 1960s. “Remember, when I went to school, you were in the same building from 1st grade through 12th grade, so your friendships with the other students became something very special, because you were together for 12 long years,” he notes.

Kathey was also active in high school activities at GCHS, participating in cheerleading, the French club, and Girls State. She also enjoys attending Red Devil games, particularly football, basketball, and wrestling. “Some years, I have had over half the team in my classes,” she notes.

Although Jerry attended elementary school in the bottom floor of the old high school building (now the Moab City Center), Kathey started kindergarten at Helen M. Knight school in its very first year of existence. “By the time I got to high school, the new building had been built (now Grand County Middle School), so I went to high school there,” she recalls.

Kathey says she has fond memories of several of her school teachers at GCHS, including Marge Donoghue (shorthand and bookkeeping), Gene Leonard (algebra), and Mrs. Markoff (French). Other favorite memories include “dragging Main in Vicki’s Volkswagen.”

Both Jerry and Kathey say that the beautiful surroundings make Moab the ideal place to live. “I love everything -- the La Sal Mountains, the desert, and the red rocks,” Jerry notes. Kathey adds that the beautiful environment offers accessibility to all the outdoor activities that she and her family enjoy. “I just love going to the mountains and spending time with my family,” she says, adding, “Moab is such a diverse yet small community. We’ve been blessed with lots of good friends.”

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