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Neria K. Ryder

Date of Death: August 7, 2020

Date of Birth: June 27, 1927

Biography:

Neria was born in New York City to Gerald Samuel Kohl and Neria Irving Hockaday
Kohl on June 27, 1927. As the only child of parents who met at Columbia, mother from
the South and father from the North, her happy childhood included Friday night trips to
Broadway to see the lights, learning to drive in Flushing Meadows at the age of 12
when the area was undeveloped and seeing the big bands of the 40s at Manhattan
hotels. Every year they went to Centralia, Illinois to visit her beloved Mama Kohl and
cousins Margery, Bill, Gordon, and Jean whom she loved as brothers and sisters.
Attending Garden Country Day School in Jackson Heights, NY, she took ballet, played
tennis, basketball and graduated as Valedictorian. Aunt Ela Hockaday, who raised her
mother from the age of 12 and founder of The Hockaday School, gave her a graduation
trip to Dallas to visit her uncles and Texas cousins.
Neria attended Wellesley College and majored in mathematics. Her passion for math,
inherited from her parents, lives in all her children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.
Her love for Wellesley influenced her daughter and granddaughter to
attend. Cousin Gordon introduced her to his MIT Sigma Chi Fraternity brother James
Ryder. They married on July 2, 1949. While Jim was at Harvard Law School, after being
refused several jobs because she was married, Neria became a computer at MIT. She
loved doing mathematical calculations with a slide-rule for physicists in the age before
machine calculators.
Soon they had five children. Moving from Cambridge MA to Jackson Heights NY to
Chatham NJ, Neria often said her happiest years were raising her children. She took all
5 children and 2 friends on trips to Gettysburg PA one year, then to Williamsburg VA
and Chincoteague Island, VA another. She tried hard to participate in one activity with
each child each year: Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Swim team, cooking, trips to the NY
City ballet, to see Reggie Jackson. We remember how she made us run between
exhibits at the 1964 NY World’s Fair so we could see them all. She took computer
programming courses at Rutgers, leaving piles of IBM punch cards around the house.
She took cooking lessons: French in Chatham and Chinese in Chinatown, NYC.
Summers were on Martha’s Vineyard, then Piseco NY in the Adirondack Mountains
where they built a house and skied during winter school vacations. Neria loved a party
and hosted many dinners. After little finger holes once showed up in a party dessert,
she thereafter made one just for the children.
Neria moved to Tempe AZ with her youngest child when the marriage was troubled.
She became a realtor and practiced until her 80s. She took up knitting again and was
truly creative with stitch patterns, colors and styles. She lived in Arizona for 40 years.
She and Jim, who lived in Arizona, maintained a special friendship throughout the
years, never speaking ill of one another.
Neria was a lifelong Unitarian. She was very active in Valley Unitarian Universalist
Congregation, volunteering every week by folding Service notes. She had many fast
friends of all ages through the church. In 2007 they held a special recognition service
for her.
Neria traveled to see her family frequently. She was present for the birth of her first
grandchild, then for many of the 11 born in all. Visiting her son in New Zealand several
times including at 87, in Singapore at 82, she attended two weddings of her grandson
in France at 86, and another in Ohio at 90. Only failing health kept her from the other
out-of-state weddings of grandchildren.
Neria is survived by her 5 children Neria Douglass and husband Paul of Auburn ME,
Duncan Ryder of Washington DC, Kristin Altieri and husband Phil of Mason OH, Evan
Ryder and wife Rosanna Paterson of Onaero, New Zealand, and Malcolm Ryder of
Tuscon AZ; 11 grandchildren Ryan Douglass and fiancée Anna Abajyan, Nathan
Douglass and wife Anne Constance, Neria Lauren Douglass and husband Alvaro
Garcia, Camilla Ryder, Evan Spanogians and wife Kaitlin Jacobi, David Spanogians and
wife Alex, Hali Spanogians and husband Steven Owens, Duncan James Ryder, Eamon
Ryder, Colin Ryder and Madeline Ryder; 7 great-grandchildren Augustin, Zélie and
Maximilien Douglass, Ryder Garcia, Kora, Otto and Esme Spanogians.
In her final years the staff at Clover Manor became her friends. As the pandemic
isolated her and so many others, her family want to especially thank them for their love
and care: Savanna, Angela, Emily, Medina, Steve, Deb, Dr. Hattan and many others.
Thank you for Hospice care from Margaret at Clover, and from Makalla, Ian and Sarah
at Androscoggin Hospice House. Neria died on August 7, 2020. We are profoundly
grateful that family were able to hold her hand and be with her in her last days.

 

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