Virginia Gaylord Neely, the last surviving child of The Oklahoman's pioneer publisher, E.K. Gaylord, died Saturday at her home in Cashiers, N.C. She was 92.
Neely was the widow of Oklahoma City insurance executive and civic leader Ralph Neely, who died in 2006.
She also was preceded in death by her brother, Edward L. Gaylord, former publisher of The Oklahoman, who died in 2003; and her sister, Edith Kinney Gaylord, a nationally known journalist and philanthropist, who died in 2001.
Neely graduated from Walnut Hill School in Massachusetts and Vassar College in New York.
She had five children and devoted much of her married life to caring for her children and supporting her husband in his business and civic work, said Paul Neely, her oldest son.
Friends also will remember her for her deep interest in art and design and her sharp sense of humor, he said.
“Her home was always filled with interesting things — not so much traditional oil paintings, but more things that reflected design,” he said. “She had a substantial collection of African art, and at one time in the 1970s, they actually owned a gallery of African art in Oklahoma City.”
Her home in North Carolina was decorated with an interesting mix of African art and Asian and contemporary pieces, he said.
“Somehow, she had the good taste to make it all work together,” Paul Neely said.
Survivors include her five children and their spouses/partners: Paul Neely, of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Gaylord Neely, of New York; Ralph Scott Neely and Elizabeth Mitchell, of Woodway, Wash.; Dr. Edward Kirk Neely and Holly Myers, of Portola Valley, Calif.; and Jack Hardin Neely and Margaret Meade Neely, of Tulsa.
She also had 12 grandchildren: David King Neely, Michael Paul Neely, Samara Neely-Cohen, Maxwell Neely-Cohen, Chloe Margaret Neely, Nicholas Stephen Neely, Lucy Elizabeth Neely, Simon Robert Neely, Laura Cray Neely, Caroline Elizabeth Neely, Elizabeth Gaylord Neely and Andrew Hardin Neely.
She had one great-granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth Neely.
There will be no funeral services.