Dr. Phyllis MacNeil
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of Ayer, retired Chief of Surgery at
Nashoba Community Hospital; sculptor; 90
AYER -- Dr. Phyllis MacNeil, 90, died on September 16, 2013, at Apple Valley Genesis Health Care in Ayer.
She was born on February 8, 1923 to Hermon C. Mac Neil and Inez E. MacNeil of Swampscott, MA who predeceased her, as did her two sisters, Jean Cole and Doris Smith.
She received a Bachelor's Degree in Zoology from the University of Maine Class of 1944. While at UMaine, she was captain of the Field Hockey team and she made Dean's list every semester of her four years. She graduated from Tufts Medical School in 1948. Interning at New England Hospital, she completed her residency at the New England Medical Center. Dr. MacNeil worked at the Cleveland Clinic in Toronto and was on the medical staff of various Massachusetts Hospitals including Newton Wellesley. She spent her last 14 years as a general surgeon at Nashoba Community Hospital. Concluding her years as a surgeon, she retired in 1983 as Chief of Surgery at Nashoba, "retiring at the top of her game" as she liked to put it.
But Phyllis always had a plan for her second journey in life. Inspired by her uncle Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947), a prominent sculptor of his time, she studied sculpture in Maine and promptly went to work creating works in the style of Inuit Carvers. She said "the thrill is in the hands on feel of a slowly emerging figure". She also turned her talented hands to studying piano, and her daily routine at the time was to spend four hours at the piano.
Dr. MacNeil was a talented equestrian and kept a horse when she had her farm in Pepperell. She had very high performance standards for herself and her horse, Antonant as she competed in Dressage and Combined Training events.
When she was seventy-two, a terrible bike accident cost her the eyesight in one eye and she endured a very lengthy rehabilitation. She has spent the ensuing years adjusting to that loss with the same indomitable spirit and strength of character that marked her first seventy -two years.
MacNEIL -- Burial will be in her family plot at Waterside Cemetery in Marblehead on Tuesday, September 24 at 11 AM for a graveside service.
A Memorial Service will be held in the Atrium at Apple Valley Center, 400 Groton Road, Ayer on Friday, September 27 at 3:30 pm. Anyone who knew Dr. MacNeil is welcome to come to either service.
Please see www.badgerfuneral.com
Badger Funeral Home
44 E Main St
Ayer, MA 01432
Published in Nashoba Publishing on Sept. 27, 2013