Deceased November 27, 2019

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In Memory

Neil died Nov. 27 from complications associated with mesothelioma. The latter is caused by exposure to asbestos, which for Neil probably occurred more than 60 years ago while aboard ship in the Navy. That said, he was active and vital up until the last few weeks of his life.

Neil came to Amherst from Belmont Hill School, pledged Theta Delt, majored in history and played tennis (captain, senior year) and basketball. Upon graduation, he spent three years in the Navy, after which he joined the Travelers Insurance Co., where he rose quickly through the management ranks, retiring in 1988. Neil and his then-wife, Liz, had two children, Chris and Hope. He is also survived by two granddaughters, Sophie and Nikki; a younger brother, Marc; and a younger sister, Patty.

Neil spent 23 of the last 28 years living in Tucson, Ariz., where he and his now deceased wife, Barbara, made a life for themselves playing tennis, traveling the world and enjoying family and friends. In 2015, Neil met Natalie Ashburn, and the two became essentially inseparable, traveling extensively in Europe and in 2019 cruising through the Panama Canal. A few years ago, Neil added pickle ball to his athletic skills, with Natalie joining him to make a most formidable mixed-doubles tandem.

Always an exceptionally talented athlete, Neil is arguably the best tennis player ever to attend Amherst College: witness his three national No. 1 age rankings, four selections to the U.S. World Cup Team resulting, 12 personal national championships and two world team titles. Recently, his tennis club in Tucson honored Neil by establishing its main court as “Neil’s Court” with a nice plaque so stating.

As an ambassador for his sport, his college and his community, no one could ask for better representation than Neil Hurlbut.

Peter Levison ’56