Neil Robert Estrella was born on June 11, 1974, in Oak Bluffs. He was the eldest child of Kayla Parkhurst and Frank Estrella Jr. He was surrounded (and I mean surrounded) by loved ones when he peacefully died early on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, at the Marthaʼs Vineyard Hospital, after a brave journey with pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed just a short 16 months prior. He was 44 years young.
From his birth to his death, Neil nourished those around him with love, music, food, and football. He was an extraordinary big brother to all, and a deeply adored father, son, brother, and friend. Neil was very close to his family. Growing up with Neil as an older brother wasnʼt always easy for us. He would constantly tease us, practice wrestling moves on us, shoot us with blow darts, and practice his aim of BB guns. But let anyone else even look at us funny, and Neil would turn into an attack dog. His greatest accomplishment was becoming a father, and his greatest joy was being with his treasured children, Taybor, Ian, and Ryan of Vineyard Haven. His eyes would ignite with adoration at the sight of them.
Neilʼs passion for sports developed in grade school. He played for the Dodgers in Little League baseball, and also played youth soccer. He loved fishing, and said that Coop taught him “all he knew” and gave him his first rod. He rode his bike everywhere around the Island — he would repeat “everywhere” — and his knowledge as a bicycle mechanic was infinite. He had such a green thumb, everything blossomed that he touched; he even brought back his niece’s parsley
plant from a near-death incident. He went on to play football and baseball at Marthaʼs Vineyard Regional High School, and later was an assistant coach for MVRHS football for several years. Neilʼs impact on his players and teammates is reflected in the messages and pictures on Facebook from those whose lives were deeply touched and changed by his contagious faith in everyone, his unfathomable enthusiasm, his unmatched energy and love, his roaring laugh, and his relentless sense of humor. He had the biggest heart, the sharpest mind, and the most encompassing soul ever lent to this Earth.
Neil made every single person feel that no matter what, he had all the time in the world for them, their lives, and their stories. The messages his family has received are a true testament to
Neilʼs spirit, impact, and the power of his kindness.
He will be remembered as a wonderful brother, a great friend, a generous uncle, cousin, coach, grill master chef, gardener extraordinaire, baby whisperer, and friendly face in town, with a swerve in your traffic lane, a long beep of the horn, a twinkle in his eyes, and an unspoken giggle. In all these ways and more, he has made our lives richer and fuller. He lives on in our memories and stories that we tell and teach of him. He lives on in all of us and what weʼve become because of him, and where we will go because weʼve crossed paths.
Neil is survived by his mother, Kayla Parkhurst (Gault), and father, Frank Estrella Jr.; brother Dylan Estrella and sisters Marisa and Damon Mello; his stepfather, Robert Parkhurst; stepsisters Caitlyn Parkhurst and Amy Rossignol; grandmother Priscilla Estrella; aunts and uncles Brenda and Joseph Sutton, Richard and Laurie Gault, Bob and Cindy Gault; nieces and nephews Madison and Amera Mae Mello, Deion and Avery Estrella, and Madeline and Miranda Gossignol; cousins Preston Sutton, Richard and Gregor Lothian, Melinda Garner, Jolene Dickerson, and Taylor and Jesse Gault; his cherished three children; Taybor, 15, Ian, 12, and Ryan, 11, and their mother Angela Estrella (Fullin). He was predeceased by his admired grandfather “Papa” Frank Estrella Sr., grandmother Mildred Gault, aunt Debra Lothian and grandpa Robert Gault.
The Estrella/Parkhurst family would like to extend our sincere thanks for the exceptional care from the staff of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. To Neilʼs extended family and friends and to this community, we thank you. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
A special sendoff and service will be held on Saturday, July 27, at the P.A. Club from 1 to 4 pm. All are invited and welcome to join.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Neil Estrella Fund, and deposited at any of the M.V. Savings Bank branches in honor of his wishes for his three children to further their education. A GoFundMe page has been created in order to supply daily needs to them at gofundme.com/WeBleedPurple76.