Neil Robert Strock died peacefully but unexpectedly at his home in Lafayette, Calif. on Jan. 24. He was 74, just a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday.

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 many nephews, cousins and friends. 

Neil was born March 14, 1949. He 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 The Cambridge School of Weston, Middlebury College with highest honors and then earned both a master’s of arts and a master’s of business administration from the University of California Berkley.

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 both data system programs as well as 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 Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, learning to sail and race a VH15, Ariel. becoming an accomplished sailor along with his brothers and cousins Doug and Bonnie. And of course he had the requisite Whaler to water ski, fish and just be on the water. As a teenager he worked at the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard for Tom Hale. 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 1976 he married Martha Shafer and they lived in Berkeley in the 1970s and eventually moved to Lafayette, just east of San Francisco Bay, to raise their 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, apple and other fruit trees, a vegetable garden and a newly-created 20 x 50 foot vineyard of several variety of grapes, carefully staked and espalied along wires as is done in the best vineyards. With his characteristic energy he was in the process of collecting carboys for wine making. 

As a brother he was a pleasure and a challenge to be with, had a non-stop sense of humor and seemingly boundless energy. He had little tolerance for the hypocrisy of the world. Neil is beloved and is already greatly missed.