John Raymond Neal

  • BORN: April 22, 1940
  • DIED: June 11, 2018
  • LOCATION: Lexington, Kentucky


John R. Neal, entrepreneur, husband, brother, father, uncle, grandfather and dear friend to many passed June 11, 2018.

John R. was born in Knoxville, Tennessee April 22, 1940 to the late Yvonne Lovely of Lake City, TN (grandparents John Ed and Ethel Lovely).

John R. is survived by his wife, Catherine Clay Neal; his brother, David G. Neal (Iosifovna); the mother of his children Linda Morris; his four sons, John R. Neal, Jr. (dec.1980); Clay Neal (Tina) and grandchildren Ashley, John and Clayton Neal; Brett Neal (Jennifer); and Tyrone Neal; and his daughter Grace Anne Morris.

John R. served in the United States Marine Corp Reserves in Annapolis, MD from May 1, 1957 to July 20, 1958. He attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, graduating in 1962, then the Nashville School of Law graduating in 1968. After college, he married and worked in the George P. Morris Rent-All business in Nashville. His close friendship with the Massey family involved him in the corporate leadership of Kentucky Fried Chicken after Jack C. Massey and John Y. Brown purchased KFC from Colonel Harland Sanders in 1964. He was the KFC Corporation Senior Director of Franchising from 1967-1970. He became a KFC franchisee in 1970 founding JRN, Inc. and moved to Columbia, TN after purchasing Clifton Place Plantation in August 1972. Headquartered at the State Bank of Tennessee in Columbia, JRN owns and operates KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Long John Silver's restaurants in 11 states and is ranked in the Top 50 US franchise restaurant companies. Over five decades, John R. became well known as a KFC franchisee leader, negotiating the industry's longest active franchise agreement and serving on the national advertising committee for 30 years where he received the Colonel's Hard Way and President's prize, and the AKFCF Lifetime achievement award.

John R. also founded Neal Auction Company in New Orleans in 1984 which is ranked in the Top 250 US auction houses and was a noted collector and authority on American decorative arts from the 19th century. He was an avid fox hunter, scuba diver and conservationist. His interests included all things equestrian, historic preservation and the culinary arts.

John R. was a Board Member and Treasurer of the Victorian Society of America in Philadelphia, served on the Advisory Board for the restoration of the Tennessee State Capitol, and served on the Board of the Tennessee State Museum Foundation and the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. He was a member of the Hillsboro Hunt Club, Idle Hour Country Club, the Lexington Club and Iroquois Hunt Club.

A Celebration of John R.'s life will be held on Thursday, June 21, with visitation starting at 3pm, followed by services at 4:00pm at First Presbyterian Church (801 South High Street) in Columbia with interment following at St. John's Episcopal Church. Military honors will be provided by the U. S. Marine Corps. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements and condolences may be extended online at www.oakesandnichols.com.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of John R. can be made to the KFC Foundation www.kfcfoundation.org, Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee www.elephants.com, Wounded Warrior Project www.woundedwarriorproject.org and First Presbyterian Church www.1stprescolumbia.org.



Visitation
  • Thursday, June 21
    3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • 801 South High Street
  • Columbia, TN 38401
  • Get Directions
Funeral Service
  • Thursday, June 21
    4:00 PM
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • 801 South High Street
  • Columbia, TN 38401
  • Get Directions

Condolences

“ David, I send my Deepest Sympathy to you and John's Family, He was always Ready and willing to help us at the Maury County Sheriff Department during...Read More »

Posted by: Wade Mathey - Columbia, TN

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