In the early morning hours of Monday, June 14, 2021, Neil Tyson Laney, 74, of Durham, North Carolina and formerly of Marion, passed away at his residence.
He was born December 01, 1946, to the late Loren Molly Laney and Wilma Ashe Laney. While born in Maryville, Tennessee, he grew up on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, a place he dearly loved and returned to often.
Tyson lived a full life with many passions. After serving in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam, he spent 30 years as a North Carolina Wildlife Officer, a job that excited him each day until he retired as a Major of Field Operations, including having served as the training director for Wildlife Enforcement at the UNC School of Government.
But Tyson’s biggest passion was music, especially bluegrass. Armed with his Martin six-string and deep voice, Tyson fingerpicked and sung his cherished music to all willing to listen and many did. Audiences loved his bluegrass covers and original songs filled with hilarious but deceptively educational stories from his days as a wildlife officer and conservationist. Tyson was never far from his guitar and used it often to make everyone’s day brighter.
Those left to cherish his memories and music are his loving wife, Ruth Wiseman Laney; his sisters, Phyllis Connell and Denise Beam (Dennis); six children, Christopher Laney of Greensboro, Walter Laney (Lindsay) of Greensboro, John Deaton of Liberty, Neil Laney of Burlington, Preston Laney (Jessica) of Burlington, and Hannah Branch (Jeff) of Durham; fourteen grandchildren, T.J. Landis, John Laney, Cort Laney, Chase Laney, Eyler Laney, Mila Laney, Austin Laney, Neil Laney, Jordan Laney, Lillie Deaton, Sammy Deaton, Waylon Deaton, Jaden Branch, and Emme Branch. Tyson greatly loved his wife, sisters, children, and grandchildren as well as his numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins and was extremely proud of them all. He also dearly loved his spiritual family at Liberty Baptist Church in Durham, NC.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Pisgah United Methodist Church Cemetery in Linville Falls with Pastor Scott Gray officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the North Carolina Wildlife Habitat Foundation in Tyson’s name by visiting, http://www.ncwhf.org/donations/.