Service:

January 3, 2020

at

1 p.m.

Location:

St. Mary's Church, Big Pond

No service at this time.

Visitation:

January 2, 2020

from

2-4 and 7-9 p.m.

Location:

Sydney Memorial Chapel

Burial Information:

at

Burial will be scheduled at a later date.

Private Burial

Location:

Requested Charity:

Charity of your choice

or

Malcolm Joseph "Malcie" MacNeil

April 8, 1935 - December 24, 2019

|

Big Pond

If I should go before the rest of you

Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone

Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice

But be the usual selves that I have known

Weep if you must

Parting is hell

But life goes on

So, sing as well. By Joyce Grenfell

Such a time has come that, at the age of 84, Malcolm “Malcie” Joseph MacNeil, husband, brother, father, grandfather and family steward, is no more. Malcolm’s end came at the final stages of dementia, on Tuesday, December 24 at 8:15 p.m., in Camp Hill Veterans Hospital, Halifax, surrounded by his loving family. We are truly grateful for the excellent care he received during his brief time at Camp Hill.

Malcolm is survived by his loving wife, Ruth; daughters, Deborah and Michelle; son, Bruce (Patricia Daley); brothers, Neil and Clem; sisters, Kathy and Rosie; grandchildren, Alyssa, Brehan, Connor, Cailean, Liam and Morgan; two great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his sisters, Mary (John) Nardocchio, Rita and Anne (Gerald White) and his son, Shawn.

His life, and how he lived it, cast a vast shadow far more impactful than how he died. Sometimes clichés express what we cannot and we will not see his likes again.

Born April 8, 1935, Malcolm was the son of the late Neil and Renee MacNeil.

He tended horses, hunted alone, fished often and worked hard labour. As the eldest son, Malcolm’s fortitude and resolve were made early. At the fledgling age of 12, Malcolm heaved timber in the forests of Cape Breton, working in conditions typically reserved for grown men. His unusual life continued as a Canadian occupation soldier in the Second World War. He rarely spoke of his experience as an underaged 16-year-old soldier seeing human ruins at Bergen-Belsen or the misery of war in Europe. The intensity of his early life and the few words with which he described them seemed sufficiently explained by his convictions, clear-eyed stare, and earnest smile. He did not live in the past or with any wishful thinking.  Malcolm lived his life on Cape Breton Island, moving from Sydney River to Big Pond. After returning from Europe, being self-taught and self-reliant, Malcolm worked as a mechanic with an understanding of every realm of mechanical or electrical work. He continued his formal education to achieve a BA and B.Ed. from St. Francis Xavier University.

Malcolm taught for 32 years and directed construction trades at the vocational school, what would become the Nova Scotia Community College, during which, his involvement in minor hockey led to his election as president of the Cape Breton Minor Hockey Association. He balanced this and eventually helped to raise four children while still undertaking prodigious projects to build every aspect of several homes from Sydney to Big Pond. For his first family home, he mustered horses to clear the land, using the cleared lumber to frame the house, dug the foundation and made insulation from an eelgrass-seaweed mixture. Ingenuity and patience were his trades. His handy work was generous and he extended it to anyone in need. From the many neighbours needing a mechanical fix, to the weekly community breakfasts graced by his overly easy eggs, Malcolm gave much of himself and yet, for a man so deeply connected to his island home, he maintained a wide-view lens of the world. There is much to write about Malcolm, but how rare it seems, for a soldier, mechanic and teacher to kayak the Bras d’Or Lakes, cultivate a garden, intimately know the local bird species, to read prolifically and to intently care for others. There are few people who commanded such attention and radiate such decency. Malcolm embodied a mantra to do the right thing - the harder thing - even when no one is looking. Death is inevitable, but these are the qualities that give his extraordinary character a semblance of immortality and to be in his orbit was to know a remarkable man. So, it is with ineffable sadness and immeasurable love, that we say goodbye.

Visitation will take place at Sydney Memorial Chapel on Thursday, January 2 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral service will be held at St. Mary’s Church, Big Pond on Friday, January 3 at 1 p.m., with Rev. Antolin Asor officiating. Reception to follow at the Big Pond Fire Hall. As always, all are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, we encourage donations to a charity of your choice.

Words of comfort can be sent to the family at www.sydneymemorialchapel.ca or e-mail sydneymemorialchapel@ns.sympatico.ca

Condolences:

Funeral & Service Details:

Service:

No service at this time.

January 3, 2020

at

1 p.m.

St. Mary's Church, Big Pond

Visitation:

January 2, 2020

from

2-4 and 7-9 p.m.

Sydney Memorial Chapel

Burial Information:

at

Burial will be scheduled at a later date.

Private Burial

Requested Charity:

Charity of your choice

or

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