Carol Neely

Carol Neely of Westhampton Beach died in her Westhampton Beach home on Dec. 13, 2021. She was 77.

Born in Niskayuna, N.Y., to Paul Vaughan, a noted engineer, and Helen (Imre) Vaughan, a homemaker and secretary, she was a cheerleader in high school and also played varsity field hockey. After graduation from high school she attended the University of Akron, after which she moved to New York with a high school friend and the two found an apartment that they shared with two roommates. While in New York she worked as an editorial assistant at Four Winds Press. 

It was also in New York that she met her future husband, John Neely, and the two were married in Schenectady in June of 1969. They lived in a Manhattan apartment that summer and then moved to Olean, N.Y., where her husband found a job teaching in a local high school. Wanting to be near a place where they could sail, the couple moved to the East End the following year. They lived in East Quogue for seven years before eventually moving to their current home in Westhampton Beach. Carol worked as a secretary at Riverhead High School for two years before moving to the offices of Behringer & Hurley, where she worked as a legal secretary for the remainder of her career. 

Her interests were varied. In addition to sailing she enjoyed exercising in the East Quogue park with a group of younger friends who referred to her as their “Senior Exercise Advisor.” She was an animal lover and in her 40s took up horseback riding. She and her husband eventually bought a horse so they could spend more time at the barn with their riding friends. 

Carol was well traveled, taking many trips throughout the world. She enjoyed researching planned excursions almost as much as the trips themselves. Whether it was a four-day visit to her beloved New Orleans or a six-week European tour, she would always be ready with advice on local public transit, the best restaurants and the most interesting places to stay.

An avid reader, she kept the folks at the Westhampton Free Library busy, reading three to four books a week. After finishing a book she would write a short evaluation, which she referred to as her “book report.” She would share these with friends and enjoyed discussing her readings with them. 

A native of upstate New York, she loved snow and would gleefully shovel the driveway no matter how high the drifts. In later years she enjoyed doing The New York Times crossword puzzles, taking great joy in solving the Sunday puzzle. She was also a big fan of the Times’ Spelling Bee and strove each week to achieve genius status. 

But of all her interests she enjoyed cooking most of all. Inspired by her mother and Julia Child and other TV chefs, she was always looking for new recipes to add to the tried-and-true regulars. She was a foodie before the term became popular and loved to talk food and exchange recipes with her sister and friends. 

She is survived by her husband of 52 years and her sister, Judith Hawk of Rochester. Additional survivors include her niece and nephew Jeremy and Dawn Hawk of Rochester and their three sons; her sister-in-law, Eileen Phillips of Baldwin Place, N.Y.; a niece Kathleen McCabe and her husband, Brendan, of Carmel, N.Y.; and her nephew James Phillips of Yonkers, N.Y. She was predeceased by her brother, Roger. 

A memorial service is planned for the spring. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations in her name to East End Hospice, 481 Westhampton-Riverhead Road, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978.

This is a paid notice.