Neysa was born in San Diego, California to a Navy couple Emmett Irwin Phares and Gladys Marie Morthland Phares. She was an only child. Neysa May married Charles Prather Pickens in 1953 and they had 61 wonderful years together until he predeceased her in 2014. Chuck and Neysa had two children. Randy who predeceased her in 2014, and Cynthia. Randy and his wife Lisa had no children. Lisa predeceased Neysa in 2018. Neysa is survived by Cynthia and her husband Larry Ugarté of Virginia Beach, Virginia, granddaughter, Gabriella of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and grandson David Ugarte along with his fiancée Kyle Gardner of Ardmore, Alabama.
The adventures in her life began at the age of 6 when she travelled with her parents to Hawaii. The family soon returned to San Diego where she attended public school, then San Diego State University. Neysa left California to continue her education at Tulane University and Louisiana State University Medical School where she earned her MD in 1950. Joining the Navy, she served as a physician stationed in Corona, California. It was there she met Charles who proposed to her. Married, the couple settled in Lemon Grove just outside of San Diego. Neysa hung out her shingle and worked as a General Practitioner in private practice. When Randy and Cindy came along Neysa gave up her practice to become a physician for the San Diego City Schools. Next came a move to Dubuque, Iowa as a Surgical Assistant while Chuck achieved his Bachelor of Divinity. When Chuck received a call as Minister of Word and Sacrament it was back to California where they settled in Encino. At the same time Neysa joined the Los Angeles Unified School District as a school physician and served there until her retirement in 1988, just in time to visit Virginia for the birth of her first grandchild.
Together she and Charles lived a life of service and adventure. They took numerous trips abroad with friends. They especially enjoyed Puerto Vallarta and parasailing on the beach there. They made mission trips to the jungles of Guatemala, Bali and several trips to the Holy Land. Neysa liked scuba diving, whitewater rafting, and even went Indoor Skydiving on her 90th birthday. Neysa’s life was long and she lived it to the fullest. Her faith before God was admirable, one filled with joy and hope. Her shining spirit and positive impact on all she met will be remembered for many years to come.