John Neufeld

SALISBURY — John Neufeld, 78, died on May 16, 2021, at his home in Salisbury. He is survived by his companion of 37 years, Winston Foote.
Mr. Neufeld was born in Chicago, Ill., Jan. 14, 1938, the son of Rhoda (Padway) and Leonard Neufeld.

He was educated at Phillips Exeter and Yale, and worked in publishing from 1962 until 1969, when his groundbreaking young adult novel, “Lisa, Bright and Dark” was published.

Between the time Mr. Neufeld graduated from Exeter and Yale, he came to Salisbury, he had written for radio, television and newspapers — and published 20 novels.

Moving from Los Angeles to Salisbury in 1998, John continued to write. His work has been published by Random House, Harper’s, Atheneum, Putnam, Norton, Fawcett, New American Library, Penguin and Dial — and in Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Swedish and Malay, in addition to English.

His first book, “Edgar Allan,” was a New York Times Book Review Best Books of the Year and was called “a work of art” by the New York Times. A historical mystery novel for young readers called “Gaps in Stone Walls” was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award in 1997.

His work received American Library Association awards, was cited by Time magazine, included twice in Best Books of the year by the Sunday New York Times, and was cited for fine writing by the New England Press Association.

A recent work, called “April Fools,” was set in Salisbury.

Eventually moving to Salisbury, Mr. Neufeld quickly became an integral and important member of the community. He was a vestry member at St. John’s Church in Salisbury, and organized the church’s annual quality used menswear sale during the annual Fall Festival.

In particular, he took an active and creative role in the Salisbury Rotary Club, where he created and implemented several highly successful programs.

Among these were the Rotary-sponsored breakfasts across the street from Town Hall in Salisbury during each presidential election; and the successful scholarship program for Northwest Corner residents who wanted to pursue a degree in nursing.

He was past president of the Salisbury Rotary Club and recipient of the Paul Harris Award, given to an outstanding Rotarian. He also served on the board of the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service.

He shared his gift for writing prose with many residents of the Northwest Corner in his popular writing workshops.

He also had two podcasts on NPR Station WHDD for 11 years, called “Political Safari” and “Good News.”

And he taught courses at the Taconic Learning Center.

In addition to Mr. Foote, Mr. Neufeld is survived by his sister, Jane, of Manhattan.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, at St. John’s Church in Salisbury.