Quiet, adventurous BSW dies at 51

Stephanie Markham, News Editor

James Neason, a building service worker in Taylor Hall who has worked at Eastern for the past three years, died at 8:21 a.m. Monday in his home. He was 51.

Though he was quiet around those who did not know him, those who did remember him as a fun person who was happiest when doing something outdoors.

A certified skydiver who served in the Marines, Neason was known by his friends as “Jumpin’ Jimmy.”

Jim Lay, a building service worker in Thomas Hall, got out of the Army around the same time Neason got out of the Marines; the two met at American Pad & Paper Company where they worked together for about 20 years.

Lay recalled his best memory with Neason was doing activities together like hunting, fishing, competing in 3D archery tournaments and jumping out of planes.

“Skydiving was probably the dumbest thing we ever did,” Lay joked. “Actually we hadn’t even been drinking; we had just been sitting around talking at work and he wanted to do it, and we decided to go do it.”

The first time they went, they did a tandem jump in Taylorville, and Lay remembers being more timid while Neason enjoyed it so much he eventually went to Las Vegas to skydive.

“My ride was with a bunch of women, and so I was like, ‘I’m out of this plane; I’m not going to be the only guy left in this plane,’” Lay said. “But that was a lot of fun, and he kept doing it.”

Dustin Carey, a building service worker in Taylor Hall, first met Neason last summer and said he remembers laughing and having a good time working with him.

“He was always the first to volunteer and very helpful,” Carey said. “He was just a really nice guy.”

Carey said Neason was responsible for the third, fourth and fifth floors in Taylor’s south tower where he cleaned bathrooms and handled trash, recycling and daily maintenance.

“He wanted to do a good job and he had a good attitude,” Carey said.

Schilling Funeral Home is assisting Neason’s family with private services to be held at a later date.

Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].