Frances Neill Dobbs Ferry, New York Obituary

Frances Neill

Frances "Tahnee" Neill of Dobbs Ferry died Saturday, December 14 after several months in declining health. She was 93. Ms Neill taught second through fifth grades at Springhurst School in Dobbs Ferry from 1971 until she retired in 1982. At Springhurst, she was an early adopter of the open classroom approach to elementary school education. Ms. Neill was active in social causes and women's rights in Westchester for many years. She was active in Westchester Women Strike for Peace in the 1960s and 1970s and attended marches in Washington against the War in Vietnam in 1969 and 1971. She was a long-time member of the First Unitarian Society of Westchester in Hastings-on-Hudson. Ms. Neill was a founding Trustee of the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society, a past President and served as a Trustee for 20 years up until 1996. She also helped the Society with fundraising and developed the idea to sell "Dobbs Ferry" cotton Afghans that are still sold on the DFHS website. Ms. Neill helped to organize a local demonstration against the War in Vietnam at the Hudson Institute, a think tank in Croton-on-Hudson NY funded largely by the Defense Department. On September 27, 1969 more than 2000 including Pete Seeger attended and demonstrators planted 150 crosses on the Institute lawn to represent Westchester County servicemen killed in Vietnam. Born Frances Osborn in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ms. Neill spent her early childhood in Clinton, Iowa. She moved to Bethesda, Maryland in 1933 when her father, Robert Osborn, a native of Port Chester, NY and expert in dairy farm administration, took a job with the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. Ms. Neill preferred the nickname "Tahnee" to her given name of Frances. Ms. Neill attended Oberlin College and graduated in 1942 with a major in economics. Shortly after college during WWII she lived in Mexico for two years and supported herself by teaching English. Ms. Neill returned to the US and worked in commercial film and television editing in New York City. She married Thomas Neill in 1950. In 1960 she moved to Osborn Manor at 300 Broadway in Dobbs Ferry. Seven years later, she moved to Riverside Place, where she lived until she died. Ms. Neill earned a MA degree in education from Fairfield University in 1977, during her tenure at Springhurst. After her husband Tom's death in 1984, Ms. Neill converted his vegetable garden at Riverside Place into a flower garden that she maintained for many years. Ms. Neill leaves two children, Amy Jo Neill of Dobbs Ferry and Christopher Neill of Falmouth, Massachusetts and one grandchild, Maya Neill of Dobbs Ferry. She is survived by a brother, Harold Osborn of Carbondale, Illinois and sister, Mary Hempton of Ashburn, Virginia. A memorial service will be held May 10 at 1:00 pm at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester in Hastings-on-Hudson. Donations can be made in honor of Frances Neill to the First Unitarian Society of Westchester or the Nature Conservancy of New York State.
December 14, 201312/14/2013
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Frances "Tahnee" Neill of Dobbs Ferry died Saturday, December 14 after several months in declining health. She was 93. Ms Neill taught second through fifth grades at Springhurst School in Dobbs Ferry from 1971 until she retired in 1982. At Springhurst, she was an early adopter of the open classroom approach to elementary school education. Ms. Neill was active in social causes and women's rights in Westchester for many years. She was active in Westchester Women Strike for Peace in the 1960s and 1970s and attended marches in Washington against the War in Vietnam in 1969 and 1971. She was a long-time member of the First Unitarian Society of Westchester in Hastings-on-Hudson. Ms. Neill was a founding Trustee of the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society, a past President and served as a Trustee for 20 years up until 1996. She also helped the Society with fundraising and developed the idea to sell "Dobbs Ferry" cotton Afghans that are still sold on the DFHS website. Ms. Neill helped to organize a local demonstration against the War in Vietnam at the Hudson Institute, a think tank in Croton-on-Hudson NY funded largely by the Defense Department. On September 27, 1969 more than 2000 including Pete Seeger attended and demonstrators planted 150 crosses on the Institute lawn to represent Westchester County servicemen killed in Vietnam. Born Frances Osborn in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ms. Neill spent her early childhood in Clinton, Iowa. She moved to Bethesda, Maryland in 1933 when her father, Robert Osborn, a native of Port Chester, NY and expert in dairy farm administration, took a job with the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. Ms. Neill preferred the nickname "Tahnee" to her given name of Frances. Ms. Neill attended Oberlin College and graduated in 1942 with a major in economics. Shortly after college during WWII she lived in Mexico for two years and supported herself by teaching English. Ms. Neill returned to the US and worked in commercial film and television editing in New York City. She married Thomas Neill in 1950. In 1960 she moved to Osborn Manor at 300 Broadway in Dobbs Ferry. Seven years later, she moved to Riverside Place, where she lived until she died. Ms. Neill earned a MA degree in education from Fairfield University in 1977, during her tenure at Springhurst. After her husband Tom's death in 1984, Ms. Neill converted his vegetable garden at Riverside Place into a flower garden that she maintained for many years. Ms. Neill leaves two children, Amy Jo Neill of Dobbs Ferry and Christopher Neill of Falmouth, Massachusetts and one grandchild, Maya Neill of Dobbs Ferry. She is survived by a brother, Harold Osborn of Carbondale, Illinois and sister, Mary Hempton of Ashburn, Virginia. A memorial service will be held May 10 at 1:00 pm at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester in Hastings-on-Hudson. Donations can be made in honor of Frances Neill to the First Unitarian Society of Westchester or the Nature Conservancy of New York State.

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