Former MS Reporter Daphne Abeel Dies


Daphne Abeel

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Daphne Abeel, 75, a writer and editor, died suddenly on March 2, in Portland, Ore., while visiting her younger brother, Neilson Abeel, and his wife, Tori Bryer.

She was a member of the staff of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator for more than 10 years, starting in 2000. After leaving the staff, she continued contributing book reviews regularly.

Having inherited her father’s literary gene, Abeel had a long career in trade publishing.  She started with Holt Reinhart and Winston  in New York and was for 20 years an editor at Houghton Mifflin. She later worked at Crown Publishers. Her authors included Arthur Ashe, Robert Stone and Sen. Jacob Javits. Her interest in politics led her to work for Massachusetts State Representative Lida Harkins. She co-founded Abeel & Leet Publishers with Judith Leet in 1995. Later she turned to newspaper work as editor of the Needham Chronicle and the Armenian Mirror-Spectator. She was an associate member of the Signet Society at Harvard  and the Cambridge Tennis Club.

Daphne Abeel was born October 23, 1937 in Morristown, NJ to Elizabeth Stackpole and Neilson Abeel, She was the granddaughter of Neilson and Nina Jackson Abeel of Newark, NJ, and J. Lewis and Katherine Whiteside Brown Stackpole of Boston and Mattapoisett, Mass. All were the descendants of early 17th-century immigrants to the New World.

She graduated from The Peck School, Morristown, NJ,  in 1951; Milton Academy,  Milton, Mass., in 1955. She entered Radcliffe College in the Class of 1959 and transferred to Barnard College for her BA in 1959. She earned her MA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 1964.

Greatly gifted, she was a skilled and dedicated pianist who played in a chamber music group for many years.  An ardent linguist, reader, traveler, horseback rider, cat lover and tennis player; in later years she took up watercolor painting.

Her two marriages ended in divorce. She had a longtime relationship with William P. Homans Jr., a prominent criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts.

In addition to her brother, Neilson, and Tori Bryer, she is survived by her youngest brother, James Stackpole Abeel of Ajijic, Mexico; her nephew, Neilson Abeel Jr.: her niece, Maud A. Abeel, and partner Stuart R. Knoop and their two sons, Otis and Jasper, all of Brooklyn, NY. Two first cousins, Lewis Stackpole and Cecily Billings Stack and second cousin Elizabeth Anne Maury. She was predeceased by first cousin Alice Stackpole Fry and second cousins Brinley Maury and Tedo Francis.

She will be remembered and missed by all who knew her. An appreciation of her will appear in an upcoming issue.