Neal Bond Fleming, 99, of Atlanta, died on June 27. He was a beloved professor, an excellent administrator, a respected minister and an active community volunteer. He was born in Canon in 1910, the 10th child in a family of 12. He graduated from Marietta High School in 1929, then earned two degrees from Emory University (Bachelor of Arts, 1933, and Bachelor of Divinity, 1936), working as many as seven jobs to pay for his education. He married Mary Louise Dunn of Marietta in 1939 and moved to Massachusetts, where he completed a Ph.D. at Boston University while a student pastor in Charlton City. He was a pastor in Spencer, Mass., from 1942-1945. The Flemings moved to Jackson, Miss., in 1945, where he was a philosophy professor at Millsaps College. In 1962 they moved to Shreveport, La., where Dr. Fleming became dean of Centenary College. In 1966, they settled in Oxford, where he was dean of Oxford College of Emory University. After his retirement in 1976, the Flemings remained in Oxford, where they had formed strong ties and had many friends. They spent summers traveling and harvesting vegetables from their large garden. He was an active volunteer in the community. In the spring of 2005, the couple moved to the Wesley Woods independent living center in Atlanta. Mary Louise Fleming died in June, 2007.
Throughout his life, Dr. Fleming was a leader in education, in the church and in the community. He did post-doctoral work at Columbia, Yale and Harvard. He wrote lessons for Methodist Adult Teacher magazine and preached at churches throughout the south. He lectured at several Elder Hostel programs after his retirement, and he taught Sunday School until he was 95. One of the great joys of his later years was hearing from former students and colleagues.
During his career, he was the chair of the selection committee for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation for several years. He served as chair of the Oxford Shrine Society, the Newton County Clean and Beautiful Commission and the Newton County Mental Health Association. He was a president of the Kiwanis Club and was a founding member of the Newton County Concert Association. He devoted a great deal of time and energy raising funds for the restoration of Old Church in Oxford. He was honored as a "hero, saint and legend" for the Wesley Woods Foundation. He remained active until the end, attending services at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church every Sunday and conducting wedding ceremonies for two of his grandsons in the last month.
Dr. Fleming is survived by children Dell Palazzolo (Gianni) of Jekyll Island and Taormina, Sicily, Jane Keene (Tom) of Kennesaw, John Fleming (Lisa) of Atlanta, and Becky Crosby (Lee) of Valdosta; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren.
Dr. Fleming has donated his body to Emory University Medical School. The Atlanta memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. today, July 2, at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the Emory Campus in Atlanta, and the Oxford memorial service will be scheduled later. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Bond Fleming Scholarship at Oxford College of Emory University, Oxford, Ga. 30054, or to the Foundation of Wesley Woods, 1817 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Ga. 30329.
The Covington News
July 1, 2009