We lost a valued classmate when Neil died June 14, 2021, in Evansville, Ind., after a short illness. He was “Lavern” to his family, “Griff” at Andover, and “Neil” at Princeton and NASA. 

He grew up in Evansville (except when his father’s death necessitated a temporary move to Kentucky). An outstanding science student at Evansville Central High School and newspaper delivery man, he earned a scholarship to Phillips Academy with assistance from a local, newspaper-connected Andover alumnus. At Andover he participated in the Asia Club, basketball, and track, and was remembered as quiet, bright, and witty. 

With a lifelong dream of working in the national space program, Neil majored in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He graduated with honors (the only Black engineer in ’71) and belonged to Stevenson. Neil had close ties to the local Black community, encouraging local minority students to study rocketry and science during his undergrad and grad years at Princeton.

He then launched his career at NASA, where he was a proud member of the space shuttle design team, working in Houston and Florida. 

After his NASA career, Neil retired to Evansville, in part to help care for Mrs. Hall, his beloved science teacher. 

The class extends its condolences to his sisters, Kathy and Beth Ann; many nieces, nephews, and cousins; and his friends.

Undergraduate Class of 1971
Graduate Class of 1976