Nesbitt Querry “Neb” Cline Jr. was a well-known businessman in Greenville, but his loved ones described him as a people person who loved to serve others.
Born in Greenville, Cline, who passed away in May, 2019, was the eldest of two sons born to Nesbitt Cline Sr. and Martha Martin Cline. While attending Greenville High School, he met his future wife Joyce.
“My good friend Lucky introduced us when we were seniors at Greenville High School,” Joyce Cline recalled recently. When the two met, “we were 17. We got married in 1965.”
While in high school, Neb Cline joined DeMolay International, an organization with loose Masonic ties. This affiliation led to his membership as a Freemason and Shriner throughout his adult life.
Once out of high school, Neb Cline continued his education at North Greenville College, where he earned his associate degree. In addition to completing a degree, Joyce Cline and his sons Scott and Glenn Cline said that Neb spent his entire career with the family’s businesses, The Cline Co. and Cline Hose and Hydraulics.
“As a teenager, he started working at The Cline Company sweeping floors and cleaning bathrooms,” Joyce Cline said. “He loved the business and came up through the ranks to eventually become sales manager.”
As he climbed the ladder at his family business, The Cline Company, his love of people and helping others grew. According to his son Scott, Neb Cline’s love for helping others was instilled in him by his Scott Cline’s grandfather, Nesbitt Cline Sr.
“He had a desire to be a servant to other people versus being served,” Scott Cline said. “He had a definite bent towards serving others. Most of the organizations he gave to were those who would help others.”
His love of service was reflected in the organizations Cline became affiliated with. Not only was he a Mason and a Shriner, but he also served in the U.S. Army Reserve and was a life donor to Clemson IPTAY. He and Joyce eventually established the Neb Q. Cline, Jr and Joyce White Cline Family Endowed Scholarship through the Clemson University Foundation.
In addition to monetary donations or giving of his time to organizations, Cline and his family have allowed the police to use The Cline Co.’s vacated property downtown as a facility to train police dogs and SWAT-team members. Through a partnership with Janice “Pinky” Whitner’s Pink Mailbox Street Ministries, the vacated building was used once a month to feed the homeless.
According to Joyce and Scott Cline, Neb Cline was a social person who took an active interest in other people’s lives.
He was interested in “all kinds of different people,” Joyce Cline recalled. “He followed what other people did through his life. He was more interested in other people’s lives than his own.”
Scott Cline said that whenever his father met someone, he always tried to find a way to help that person or connect him or her with someone else. In addition, Joyce Cline said that when Neb met a person, he would save that person’s contact information so that he could potentially connect him or her with someone else down the road.
“He was unique with how he could connect people who wouldn’t have otherwise met,” Scott Cline said. “He was always trying to find ways to help people. My brother (Glenn) and I both inherited that trait.”
Scott also said his dad always wanted make sure people had memorable experiences, whether it was by sending cakes to nurses who had helped care for him, sending flowers to a receptionist he never met in person, or sending money to someone who did not ask for it as a way to help that person out on his or her life’s journey.
Both Scott and Glenn Cline said their father taught them it was “better to give help than to receive it.” According to Glenn Cline, his father felt that getting a person’s trust and faith came first and that “business and friendship would follow.”
“He loved people,” Joyce Cline said of her late husband. “He was a good person. He was one of the most trusting people and would give you the shirt off of his back. People remember him for his smile.”