Joseph Neary Biography
Joseph Neary, Vice-President4th Ward Commissioner
Chairman of Administration and Finance, Grants, Open Space and Shade Tree
Joe was born in Southwest Philadelphia in 1950 and his family moved to Sharon Hill in 1954 where he and his seven siblings attended Holy Spirit School for their elementary education. Joe attended Saint Joseph’s Prep through his junior year of high school and finished his senior year at Monsignor Bonner in 1968. He attended West Chester University from 1968-1974, graduating in 1972 with an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education and in 1974 with a graduate degree in History. In November 1978 Joe and his wife to be Marian purchased a home in Sharon Hill and moved into it on their marriage in April, 1979. Their oldest son Joseph(JP) was born in June, 1980, their second son Kevin was born in September, 1982, and their third son Christopher was born in October, 1984. The family had outgrown the small Cape Cod and in July, 1985, the family moved to the home on Kelly Avenue that remains the family address to this day. In May, 2000 Joe graduated from Neumann University with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
Joe has been active in politics from an early age. One of his most striking memories is standing on Chester Pike in Sharon Hill in 1960 as candidate for President, John F. Kennedy, drove by in a motorcade. It was raining and Senator Kennedy was wearing a hat and rain coat, something he rarely did. Election night in 1960 was a thrilling experience as Senator Kennedy carried Sharon Hill and Joe remembers his house full of happy, tired friends and family. Throughout the 60’s and 70’s Joe delivered literature and worked with his dad on various campaigns, even running for school board in the early 70’s. In the late 70’s Joe took up where his dad left off, involving himself in more campaigns at both the local and county level. Moving to Upper Chichester in 1985, Joe immediately started to work in local politics, helping with a candidate for school board’s campaign and in 1989 running himself for township commissioner and winning the election, serving for four years from 1990 through 1993 when he was narrowly defeated for reelection. Joe made a comeback in 2009, himself narrowly winning election and was reelected in 2013 by a significant margin.
Joe has been involved in the community ever since he moved here, starting with Chichester Baseball League, Crusaders Basketball, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Middle School Home and School , lunch with Santa (his role must be nameless), and many committees and functions at Saint John Fisher.
As many of you may know Joe lost his wife to lung cancer in 2002. She was a wonderful wife, mother, friend and a consummate professional at her profession of nursing. Marian battled her illness with grace and a smile, rarely giving in to self pity and setting and achieving several goals that many thought she wouldn’t be able to accomplish. Her last task, getting her youngest off to college was accomplished in August 2002 and she passed three months later in November, 2002. The boys and I, and many friends, miss her every day.
In November 2011 Joe’s son Kevin was assaulted, shot and left for dying in Philadelphia. Kevin made it but the bullet left him a quadriplegic. He lives at home with Joe and his wit, charm, intelligence, and ready smile(inherited from his mother) are a source of inspiration to many who know him or know of him. The Upper Chichester community has supported our family throughout this ordeal, visiting Kevin, supporting fundraisers, sending meals and just being there to help when needed.
I have been blessed with many good friends, an absolutely wonderful supportive family, and for the last ten years by a woman who has stood by even when Kevin’s care often took precedence over our relationship. Kathy has been a rock to lean on for all of that time and I thank her for her love and support.
Joe worked at Acme from 1969-1986, and then took a bookkeeping job with a small air compressor company from 1986-1991, leaving that company during an economic downturn to work for a friend’s local water ice company from 1991-1996. In 1996 he started work at Johnson Matthey where he worked until Kevin’s injury. Joe retired in 2012 to help with Kevin’s care and remains at home.