Sylvia Brooke Neal
1942 - 2021
Hinnant Funeral Service - Greensboro
512 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr.
Greensboro, NC
Neal, Sylvia Brooke

September 20, 1942 - November 3, 2021

Brooke Neal, of Greensboro, NC, died November 3, 2021, due to complications from a recently diagnosed medical condition. Born September 20, 1942 in San Angelo, Texas, Sylvia Brooke Neal was the only child of Rachel Leah Neal and Alvin Ethan Neal.

From an early age Brooke's fiercely independent spirit was evident. Her father told her, "Brooke, you've never learned how to gee and haw!" (She'd live up to his statement in more ways than one.) Brooke's first marriage was to Tommy Broadway (children: Kevin Brooke Hudson, Calvin Neal Broadway, Tommy Winston Broadway and James Mark Broadway). Her second husband was Joe Peter Burton (children: Adam Burton, Eric Burton). Brooke's children are now scattered far and wide, but most were by her side for a bittersweet reunion at Hospice. Her grandson, Triston Broadway, was raised by his grandma since childhood, and he kept her on her toes with his constant curiosity and willingness to debate her many theories and philosophies.

Brooke was a force of nature, a political activist, a talented and prolific artist, a free spirit, a psychologist, a teacher, a mentor, a philosopher, a loyal friend, an advocate for those less fortunate, a science fiction enthusiast, a Leonard Cohen admirer, a mom/grandma/great-grandmother, a Beat poet/hippie/Taoist/Buddhist, and above all an outspoken truth teller.

Brooke's life was varied in location as well as vocation. A young wife to Tommy Broadway (Brooke married at age 14) and mother in Texas in the 1950s, Brooke moved to New York City for a time where she frequented coffee houses and met her mentor, Bob Kaufman, one of the major Beat poets. She returned to Texas for a time, then moved to NC where she met her second husband, Pete, and became a mother to twins. Brooke later moved to Fancy Gap, Virginia, where she lived in a rustic house and commuted to Radford University to obtain her Masters in Psychology. She became a counselor and behavioral therapist and spent much of her career working with the intellectually / developmentally disabled, first in Virginia and eventually making her way back to Greensboro, NC. A colleague said Brooke always gave 110% to this often neglected population.

From Texas to NC to NYC and beyond, Brooke made lifelong friends along the way—friends who became family. Brooke's community was as diverse as her pursuits in life—from every culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and economic level, non-judgmental and non-conformist, often outrageous, wickedly funny, wise and compassionate, creative, LOVING—there is a BIG HOLE in our universe without you! We already miss you.

The photo for this post is her painting titled "BARDO," which she asked to be included with her obituary along with her poem of the same name:

Death will peel me like a ripe banana

Pop me like a bright balloon.

I lose my limbs and senses,

My loved ones then and now—all.

I can't find my place,

My history—my life.

It's all gone in whatever process wiped me out.

Everything I fought for

Everything I won.

I lose my place

In time and space,

My memory,

My senses.

All I had not lost before

I lose it now.

My sense of now or then as well.

Nothing. Nothing there at all.

No there there.

No One. No response when I call.

I am alone. Alone.

It's always been this way?

I do not know.

And yet there it is.

I am. I am.

I am Nothing, but I am.

I cannot call out. I have no voice, no words;

I am nothing,

And there is nothing.

And yet, I am.

I am I am I am I am I am


Echoing on no sound,on no sound… on no sound.


An endless soundless sound outside time and space.

Nothing at all.

---Brooke Neal, January, 2019

***************NOTE: There will be no visitation or funeral service.

Hinnant Funeral Home

512 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Greensboro, NC 27406
Published by Greensboro News & Record on Nov. 7, 2021.
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Funeral services provided by:
Hinnant Funeral Service - Greensboro
Sponsored by Hinnant Funeral Service - Greensboro.
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