John McNeil

John McNeil

Sunday, March 26th, 1933 - Sunday, August 2nd, 2020
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Dr. John McNeil

26 March 1933 – 02 August 2020

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” I Corinthians 13:7-8.

Peacefully in his 88th year, with Ellen (“Ella”), his loving wife of 64 years, and his son Gary and his family, at his side, he left our world. Born in Motherwell, Scotland to Joseph (1959) and Agnes (2000), a dearly loved first son and older brother, to William, Margaret (2008) and Catherine. A loving and loyal husband to Ella for 64 years, equally loving and loyal father, father-in-law, and grandfather to John (Sharon) Alexandra, Samantha, Victoria and Gabriella; Gary (Kym) Hannah and Madison; Jacqueline (Mark) Alan, Stephanie, and Brooklyn; Alan (Jennifer) Jackie, Kerr, Ailin and Emerson. Great-grandfather to Saylor. Professional soccer player in Scotland’s top flight for many years before a change in career direction. As a life-long learner, he headed to the University of Edinburgh where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees with first class honours before then completing a Ph.D in Geography. All the while still playing soccer professionally and with Ella raising their 4 young children. No small feat, by any means. Next stop was Canada, where he and Ella had spent their earliest married years. The temptation this time was an offer from Brock University and its first President James A. Gibson to join its young faculty in 1967 at what was then Canada’s newest university, having opened its doors to its first students just three years earlier in 1964. After a dedicated and distinguished 26 year teaching, administrative and coaching career helping put Brock firmly on the Canadian academic and athletic landscape and map, retirement beckoned. Spending more time with his family, now split between Gary and Jacqueline and their families in Canada and John and Alan and their families in Scotland, with some travel and an ever-present ‘enthusiasm’ for golf became the focus. When visiting, his lasting whispered words to each of his grandchildren were always, “you’re so special, don’t you ever forget that.” It’s something they will always remember. Outside of family, he was a friend and mentor to many. All who knew him will remember him as a humble and proud man, thoughtful and considered, respectful of all and everyone, and never one to forget his roots or beginnings. He leaves an impressive legacy and is on his way HAME.

Cremation has taken place. A family service will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be shared at
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Posted at 07:05pm
Dear Jackie:

Our sincerest condolences on the loss of your dad.

John, Lisa, and family


Posted at 09:55am
In loving memory of Grandpa John McNeil. For always making your first granddaughter laugh and smile! Love, Laura, Alexandra and Family
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David Butz

Posted at 02:14pm
In sympathy, David Butz (Brock colleague).
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of John McNeil — Plant a Tree Now

David Butz

Posted at 02:12pm
John was Departmental Chair in 1991 when I was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Brock. He was a kind and generous mentor and supervisor, who – along with several other senior colleagues in the department – made me feel welcome and supported through the early years of my career. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

Heartfelt Sympathies

Posted at 10:05am
Alan and Jen, our sincere sympathy in the passing of your Dad. Love, Liz and John
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