Neil Celley

Neil Celley

October 24, 1927 October 24, 2019

Sign in to the Family Interactive Login

The Family Interactive feature enhances An Amazing Life. Authorized family members can securely access their loved one's memorial website settings at any time.

Share Book of Memories with a Friend

Please enter the name and email details so that we can send your friend a link to the online tribute. No names or addresses will be collected by using this service.

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.

To share your memory on the wall of Neil Celley, sign in using one of the following options:

Sign in with Facebook


Or sign in with your email address

Your condolence has been posted successfully

Provide comfort for the family of Neil Celley with a meaningful gesture of sympathy.

No Thanks

Contact Funeral Home

Please enter your question / comment below:

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.


Obituary for Neil R. Celley

Neil R. Celley, October 24, 1927 - October 24, 2019. At the age of 92, Neil passed away peacefully at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital surrounded by his family. Born in Eveleth, Minnesota to Vienna and David Celley, Neil excelled in every sport but ice hockey was his passion. Neil was the last surviving member of the first Minnesota high school ice hockey championship team for which he played the entire championship game defeating Thief River Falls 4 to 3. After graduating from high school, Vic Heyliger recruited Neil to come to the University of Michigan. World War II interrupted his academic career where he served in the U.S. Army as part of the occupation force in Japan from August 1946 through December 1947. Upon completion of his honorable service, in January 1948 the United States Olympic committee selected Neil to be a team member of the U.S. Olympic amateur ice hockey team for the games in Saint Moritz, Switzerland. However, he did not play as the U.S. also sent a second team of paid professionals who were ultimately chosen to skate in the tournament. From 1948 - 1951 Neil completed his academics and played left wing for the University of Michigan where he set a seasonal scoring record of 40 goals and 39 assists not surpassed until 1977, was selected as an All-American, and was an esteemed member and Most Valuable Player of the 1951 National Collegiate Athletic Association national championship team. After graduation, he married his U of M sweetheart, and Ann Arbor native, Virginia Zeeb. He then skated for 9 days with the Detroit Red Wings until he was offered the positions as Head Coach of the Denver University hockey team and golf team. During his relatively short tenure from 1951 - 1956 as the Denver University hockey coach he had an impressive winning average of .649 (82W, 43L, 6T). Following his departure from Denver University, Neil returned to Ann Arbor to earn his Master of Arts Degree and accepted a position with the Chelsea School District then Bloomfield Hills Michigan School District. At Bloomfield Hills he shaped the lives of many young adults as a High School Counselor. He established the ice hockey program and coached from 1967 to 1984. Neil had many god given talents including the ability to make the child in everyone smile and laugh at a moments notice. With this talent he chose to finish his career as an elementary school physical education teacher. Upon retirement, Neil renewed his interest in golf where he had three witnessed holes in one and one unwitnessed. He and Virginia traveled to the warm climate of Panama City Beach, Florida where he would golf and paint many lovely water colors overlooking the cooling breeze of the ocean. He was a loving husband, father, dotting grandfather, role model to generations of athletes and students, and friend to many wherever he went. Neil lived a full life on his own terms.

Neil was pre-deceased by his eldest son, Todd, and survived by his wife Virginia, daughter Marsha Kalember, grand daughters Kristin and Karin and his youngest son, Michael.

Memorial services are scheduled for 1:00 pm, Saturday, December 7, 2019 at Nie Family Funeral Home located at 3767 W. Liberty Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103, where you may visit with the family 1 hour prior to the service.

To send flowers to the family of Neil R. Celley, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Read Less

Service Details

  • Memorial Gathering

    Saturday December 7, 2019 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm
    Nie Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Liberty Road Chapel
    3767 W. Liberty Road
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Saturday December 7, 2019
    12:00pm - 1:00pm
    Send flowers for Neil's Memorial Gathering
    Guaranteed delivery before Neil's Third Visitation begins
  • Memorial Service

    Saturday December 7, 2019 | 1:00pm
    Nie Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Liberty Road Chapel
    3767 W. Liberty Road
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Saturday December 7, 2019
    Send flowers for Neil's Memorial Service
    Guaranteed delivery before Neil's Service begins

Photos & Videos

Photo Album

Subscribe to Updates

We encourage you to share any memorable photos or stories about Neil. All tributes placed on and purchased through this memorial website will remain on in perpetuity for generations.

Tribute Wall

Private Condolence
Would you like to attach a photo to your condolence?
Provide comfort for the family of Neil R. Celley by sending flowers.
Hand delivered by a local florist
Provide comfort for the family of Neil R. Celley by sending flowers.
Hand delivered by a local florist

Make Memories Last

We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of Neil here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.


Benefits to Ordering Flowers Through Heartfelt Sympathies

Send Beautiful Flower Arrangements

Ordering through us helps ensure your order will be placed through a local flower shop with whom the funeral home has a personal and trusting relationship. Through this service, a card with a picture of your selection will be included so you are able to leave a longer message of support to the family with your thoughtful gesture. Also included is a photo of your arrangement and message which will remain in perpetuity within this memorial website.

The Heartfelt Sympathies Difference:
  • Your flower arrangement will be hand-delivered by a local florist.
  • Choose to send to the service, funeral home, or family's home.
  • Your selected arrangement will be archived in this memorial tribute website in perpetuity.

Why light a candle?

This is why you should light a candle..

Honoring A Life: A Thoughtful Gesture with Global Benefits

Memorial Trees by Honoring A Life

When you choose to have a memorial tree planted for your loved one, you are doing more than simply putting a plant in the ground. You are making a long-term commitment to the environment, and implanting the memories of your loved one in our planet for countless years to come. A memorial tree is a unique tribute that provides global benefits like no other gift could.

What You Receive:
  • A memorial tree planted in the area of greatest need, according to the planting schedule of the American Forests Organization and the Canadian Institute of Forestry.
  • A memorial card to be sent to your home or a person of your choosing which demonstrates the gift you have given.
  • Your name and message listed in this online memorial, and on the website. (See sample memorial)
Share by: