Neary grew up in New Mexico and is an avid hunter and fisherman. He graduated from the University of New Mexico. He worked at newspapers in the state for 20 years, covering state and local government agencies and conservation issues. Most recently, Neary covered state government and courts for The Associated Press in Wyoming. He was happy to give up the Wyoming winters and return to familiar hunting and fishing grounds in New Mexico. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife Susie and their son, Stanley.