Judith Phillips Neeld, age 90, a longtime resident of Martha’s Vineyard, passed away on April 18, 2019 at her home in Vineyard Haven.
Judith was born in Norwood, Massachusetts to Carleton Warburton Phillips and Edith Wilson Phillips on August 24, 1928. She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where she met her husband of 53 years, Richard Hoagland Neeld. They married on September 11, 1948 and started their lives together, settling into Madison, New Jersey, where they would raise their family. She worked at Drew University for ten years as Communications Coordinator then Assistant Director of Public Affairs until 1972, when she left to pursue her career as a writer and poet. In 1974, she launched Stone Country: A Magazine of Poetry, Reviews, and Graphics, which she edited and published for the next 20 years. Devoted to her own writing, Judith enjoyed wide recognition and in 1984 received the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America for her poem, Her Topography. She also saw six books of her poetry published, including a most recent anthology of her life’s work, compiled by her island poetry group, the Cleaveland House Poets.
She and her husband moved to the Vineyard in 1982, summering in Menemsha and wintering in Vineyard Haven. Although an avid traveler, she always considered the Vineyard home. Judith’s other interests included birding, cooking, leading wildflower walks, and watching tennis or the Boston Red Sox.
Judith is preceded in death by her husband, Richard Hoagland Neeld, and her son, Gordon Phillips Neeld. She is survived by her daughter Nancy Neeld Vander Veen and husband Mark of Saint Augustine, Florida, daughter-in-law Lisa Pagano Neeld of Belle Mead, New Jersey, and three grandchildren: Sara Michalec and her husband Mark, Scott Vander Veen and his fiancée Sabina Camponogara, and Harrison Neeld.
A memorial service, with a reception to follow, will be held at 4pm on Monday, June 24, at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs, preceded by a private graveside service for family at Abel’s Hill Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Judith’s name to the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, P.O. Box 1088, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568, to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Martha’s Vineyard, 238 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568, or to the charity of your choice.