Published in The News & Observer on Feb. 23, 2017
Edith Shepherd Neece
August 6, 1924 - February 18, 2017
Edith Shepherd Neece (age 92) died of heart failure at home,
surrounded by family, on February 18, 2017.
Preceded in death by her siblings, Edwin J. Shepherd and Alice
She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Talmadge Macon Neece; lifelong friend, Marian
Oddo; children, Laura E. Neece-Baltaro, Robert T. Neece, and Alice Neece Mine; six
grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Born in Washington, DC, she spent many happy summers on her grandparents' farm in North
Carolina. In high school Edith and friend Marian founded an 18-member charity club called the
"TNTs" ("Tech's Nice Tootsies"). These young feminists even explored adopting an orphan
Edith served her country in the Cadet Nurse Corps from 1943 to 1946. She received her BSN
from Catholic University in 1948. During the post-WWII baby boom, Edith headed a busy
newborn nursery. In a nursing career that spanned 40 years, she cared for many, from the very
young in Head Start programs to the very old at several geriatric facilities.
Edith met Talmadge in 1947. Their first date was in the balcony of the National Theatre in
Washington. Returning from intermission, Talmadge realized he was holding her hand, and the
rest is history.
From 1961 Edith was an active member of Quaker Meetings in West Hartford, Atlanta, Little
Rock, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Asheville, and Durham. She was involved in Friends General
Conference, which provides services and resources for individual Friends, meetings, and
people interested in a vital Quaker faith.
Edith lived her life helping others. From high school philanthropist to international peace worker,
she was an example to all who knew her. She worked for civil rights with Martin Luther King's
mother. She nursed and tutored in rural Arkansas. Through Servas, a worldwide cultural
exchange program, she hosted international visitors, seeking peace and understanding. As the
first US Servas Peace Secretary, she traveled widely. She attended the final meeting of the
South African Peace & Reconciliation Committee. Her work with the League of Women Voters
(LWV) took her to the national convention when LWV was opened to male members. She was
a Sunday school teacher, preschool board member, Girl Scout troop leader, and tutor. In NYC
she was a nongovernmental organization representative at the Quaker United Nations Office
and she helped grow Servas as a part of its national board.
Edith worked to improve public transportation, promote recycling programs, and planted
flowers for those she loved. The beauty and love that she shared are her legacy to us all.
The family thanks special caregivers, Linda Pickett and Deborah Wallace; Duke Hospice and
Aegis Home Care for their kindness.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL),
245 2nd Street NE, Washington, DC, 20002, or to Durham Friends Meeting, 404 Alexander St,
Durham, NC, 27705-4706.
A memorial service will be held at Durham Friends Meeting, 404 Alexander St, Durham,
Saturday, March 4th, at 2:00 p.m., visitation with family from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Condolences
may be left at cremationsocietync.com