Neil Robert Strock


Neil Robert Strock died peacefully but unexpectedly at his home in Lafayette, Calif., on January 24, 2024. He was born on March 14, 1947, so he would have been 75 years old in a few weeks. 

Neil came to the Vineyard as a child in the 1950s, and spent classic summers here until he left for California 20 years later. He graduated from the Cambridge School of Weston, and Middlebury College, with highest honors, and with both an M.A. and an MBA from the University of California Berkeley. He had a series of career paths, mostly as computers became a tool for city planning, and later doing data management for Kaiser Permanente Hospital Systems. One of his great strengths was his ability to deal with and troubleshoot data system programs and manage the intricacies of hardware problems.

Neil experienced the pleasures of being a child on the Vineyard, learning to love boats and the water. As he grew, he could be found hanging out at the VHYC, learning to sail and race a VH 15, Ariel. He became an accomplished sailor, along with his brothers, and cousins Doug and Bonnie. And of course he had the requisite Whaler to waterski and fish, and just be on the water. As a teenager he worked at the MVSY for Tom Hale, and as the family became involved in the growth of the Vineyard, he worked for Island Properties. 

Once he had experienced California, he decided to stay in the Bay Area. In 1970 he married Martha Shafer; they lived in Berkeley in the 1970s, and eventually moved to Lafayette, just east of San Francisco Bay, to raise the three boys. That gave Neil the chance to do his second, possibly first favorite thing: grow things. At the time of his death he was justly proud of his small but elegant plantings of roses, apples and other fruit trees, a vegetable garden, and a newly created 20- by 50-foot vineyard of several varieties of grapes, carefully staked and espaliered along wires, as is done in the best vineyards. With his characteristic energy, he was in the process of collecting carboys for winemaking. 

As a brother, he was a pleasure and a challenge to be with, had a nonstop sense of humor, and seemingly boundless energy. He had little tolerance for the hypocrisy of the world.

He is beloved, and is already greatly missed.

He is survived by his wife, Martha; three sons, Joshua, Nathaniel, and David, and their families, including two grandchildren. He also is survived by his brothers, Peter and Marcus; and by many nephews, cousins, and friends.