Patsy Neece Profile Photo
1926 Patsy 2023

Patsy Neece

December 10, 1926 — October 17, 2023

Patsy Fumiyo Neece, 96, of Franklin, TN, born December 10, 1926, passed away at Williamson Medical Center on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. Ms. Neece is survived by her two sons, Jimmy L. Neece (wife Carol), of Albany, Kentucky, and Justin L. Neece (wife Michelle, grandchildren Kenadee, Jeremiah, and Molly Neece), of Franklin, TN; and preceded by her husband, Floyd Edgar Neece, and son, Frank Edd Neece, (wife Beth, grandchildren Wesley, Laura, Amy, and Abby).

Fumiyo was born in Yokohama, Japan, approximately 20 miles from Tokyo, where she attended grade school as a child through the seventh grade. Leading up to Japan’s formal entrance into World War II in 1940, Fumiyo would attend school for a half day then walk to a nearby warehouse to build electronic transistors for wartime weaponry. In 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Fumiyo and her brother were divided within the family as a precaution. She would now live the rest of her days in Japan with her grandparents. In 1950, Fumiyo met a young Army soldier, Sergeant Floyd Neece of the 24th Infantry Division. Mr. Neece was stationed at the United States Camp Zama but would spend his off-duty time in Yokohama.

On June 4, 1951, Sergeant Floyd Edgar Neece, of Lincoln County, Tennessee, and Fumiyo Mizuno, of Yokohama, Japan, were married at the American Consulate Building in Yokohama for $1. Floyd served through the Korean War to an Honorable Discharge on January 16, 1953.  After finally gaining approval from the U.S. government by submitting a petition letter to Senator Kenneth Douglas McKellar (Memphis), Neece moved his new wife and son (Jimmy) from Yokohama, Japan, back to Lewisburg, TN, Marshall County, eventually landing at 1001 Cheryl Drive. A Japanese woman immigrant in Lewisburg, TN, in 1953, was for sure a first. What were communications like for Floyd and Fumiyo? It is truly a mystery or better yet, a great love story. Her adventure to the heart of Dixie came with lots of challenges. Fumiyo only knew one other American female, Patsy Cline. When she applied for her citizenship, Fumiyo became Patsy or some called her, “Pat”. From 1961 to 1984, Patsy worked at Genesco, known by locals as the “shoe factory.” She would sew shoes for 8-10 hours per day. When the plant closed in 1984, Patsy became an interpreter for a new Japanese manufacturing facility moving into town, Kantus Corporation. She supported four different Japanese, executive families’ wives, and children in their culture shock to Lewisburg. It was Patsy’s time to leverage her transitional experiences and honor her home country and her new Lewisburg community with kindness and caring love. She literally integrated two separate worlds, and both still survive and thrive today. From teaching wives how to drive, registering their kids in school and sports, to showing them how to communicate with the community, Patsy Neece created “home” for many. Once the executive families settled, Kantus Corporation offered Patsy a full-time job in the plant, where she worked until 1991. She retired at the age of 66 and was ready to relax and enjoy a new life.

Patsy and Floyd Neece were members of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Lewisburg for over 50 years. In December 2014, she and Mr. Neece moved to the Hearth of Franklin, near her son Justin. Until Mr. Neece’s death, July 2017, Patsy and Floyd served each other in marriage for 66 years. Patsy attended Franklin First United Methodist Church from 2015-2023, where she participated in the Women’s Prayer Shawl group. Her amazing legacy will live forever in the hearts of many she touched over nearly a century.

The following funeral services will be held on Sunday, October 22, 2023.

Bills, McGaugh, and Hamilton Funeral Home, 755 Yell Road, Lewisburg, TN 37091

12:00pm – 2:00pm Visitation

2:00pm – 2:45pm Celebration Service

Burial to follow at Sunset Park Cemetery, directly behind the funeral home.

In Lieu of flowers please make memorial donations to Marshall County Community Theatre at dixietheatre.org

Bills-McGaugh & Hamilton Funeral Home & Crematory is honored to assist the family with the arrangements. Condolences may be extended online at www.billsmcgaugh.com.

To order memorial trees in memory of Patsy Neece, please visit our tree store.

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