Neila J.'s Story

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Neila J. Straub, 68, of Naples, Fla., and Marblehead, Mass., formerly of Swampscott and Salem, Mass., passed away peacefully under hospice care in Saddle River, N.J., on Tuesday, April 4. Neila loved to travel and died from complications from a fall while on a Blues Music Cruise from Miami with a friend.
Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Neila did her undergraduate work at Hunter College, where she earned a BA in Sociology and Education, and moved on to get her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Boston University in 1971. Neila started her career working with run-away and disenfranchised teens at Project RAP in Beverly, Mass., where she eventually became the Executive Director. Deciding to put her energy towards victim advocacy, she enrolled in Boston College Law School. Upon graduation in 1982, she was appointed a Law Clerk to Justices of the Superior Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and then became an Assistant District Attorney in the Essex County District Attorney’s Office under Kevin Burke. Neila went into private practice in 1986, initially working at Lewin and Lewin in Malden, Mass., but eventually opened her own firm, specializing in Criminal Defense, Family Law and Civil Litigation. For the next 30 years she was a relentless legal visionary who improved the lives of countless families in and around the Boston area. In her spare time, she opened a gardening business, Le Petite Jardin.
Retiring as a sole practitioner in 2016, Neila opted to escape the New England winters and settled in Naples, Fla., where she quickly became involved in new hobbies, such as golf and volunteering at the Naples Botanical Gardens and the Naples Museum of Art.
Neila possessed an incandescent spirit that lit up every room she entered. She easily made friends wherever she went; friends will remember Neila as a woman of many passions, for her tenacity, quick wit, sense of style, generosity and most importantly her love of life, family and friends. She was a woman with an astute creative eye as evidenced by the lush gardens she designed and the countless delectable meals that she prepared for friends and family. Above all, she will be remembered as a loyal friend with piercing intelligence and a ready wit.
Neila will be laid to rest in Cedar Park/Beth El Cemetery in Paramus, N.J., and was predeceased by her parents, Miriam and Leonard Straub. She leaves her daughter, Michela and partner, Alex Cononico; grandson, Steven; her loving brother, Scott Straub and his wife, Arlene Fraitag; their two children, Glenn and Hannah; as well as her beloved dog, Cooper; and many close friends, both old and new.
Her smile and laugh will be greatly missed by many.
A Celebration in honor of Neila’s life will be held at a later date.
For funeral details, please go to www.caringbridge.org.
Memorial donations may be made to Villa Marie Claire Hospice in Saddle River, N.J.
Published on  April 7, 2017
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