McNeill Connections: Such a Small World

Written by Harold McNeill on September 5th, 2013. Posted in Biographies


And it gets smaller with each passing hour…

On Tuesday, after our return from camping at Island View Beach, Sean mentioned that Lucas (a friend of Sean and our family) was dating girl from Oak Bay and there was a connection to our family.  A copy of the information passed to Sean is included in footer.

It turns out girlfriend’s Aunt is Debbie Ayotte (husband Giles).  Our family met the Ayotte’s (kids Marcel and Danielle) back in the 1990s when Sean played soccer at Prospect Lake and baseball at Layritz with Marcel.

When mom (Laura Skarsen) was living with us for few months we took her to visit the Ayotte’s.  During our visit we learned that when mom was in High School she had dated Debbie’s dad a few times.  After that revelation Debbie and I often joked that if things had turned out slightly different, Debbie and I might be brother and sister.  To this day, we still call each other brother and sister when we met.

Story 2

An hour later as I was cleaning the trailer, an older blue Volvo pulled up across the street and a man asked if this was the McNeill residence.  Of course the conversation was on and the couple in the car, Mickey and Lillian (Stevens), were invited in for tea.  First, he whipped the car around and parked in front of our house.  No driving challenges for that young man.

In conversation we learned that while we were away the couple had a visit from my first cousins, Charlie and Olga Crocker of Saskatoon. His mother, Mina, was my dad’s sister and they both grew up in Glaslyn/Birch Lake, where Mina married (Ned Crocker) and lived until this both passed away.IMG_6099

Mickey said they had dropped by our place a few times with Charlie and Olga but were never able to catch us at home (of course). We also learned that for several years Charlie and Mickey worked as field reps in Saskatchewan for a farm implement company.

Mickey retired several years before Charlie and after retiring, living in Winnipeg for several years.  He and Lillian then moved to the Island about 25 years back. They now live on Royal Oak Drive, only a few blocks from our home.

Now the cracker! Mickey is 96 and Lillian 93 and they have been married for 57 years. Mickey said they would have been married longer, but he was in his early forties and she in her late thirties when they finally tied the knot. Amazing.

While Lillian has some vision limitations, Mickey still easily holds a driver’s licence as evidenced by the way he whipped that Volvo around.  The couple, as you might discern from the radiant look on their faces, are an absolute delight. This is one exceptional couple and I am sure we shall see more of them in the future.

What a small world.


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  • Harold McNeill

    August 21, 2019 |

    For those who followed the earlier post about the cost of ICBC Auto insurance coverage in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (linked in comments) here is another follow-up article.

    This article again confirms earlier assertions that public-private insurers such as that which ICBC provides, is among the best in Canada in terms of rates and coverage. A link is provided in the original story.

  • Harold McNeill

    August 16, 2019 |

    Many thanks for reviewing the article Elizabeth. There are so many areas of our society in which populism carries the day, although I think what is happening with the ICBC is that groups having a vested interest in private insurance would dearly love to dislodge ICBC from their preferred position. That being said, I think was a good move to have only portions of the insurance coverage in BC being held by ICBC and other portions being made available through private enterprise.

  • Elizabeth Mary McInnes, CAIB

    August 15, 2019 |

    It’s a breath of fresh air to see a resident of British Columbia look to review all the facts over believing what is reported in the news or just following along with the negative stigma of the masses. Your article truly showcases that with a little reform to ICBC’s provincial system – British Columbia could be a true leader for other provinces in Canada. Very well written article!

  • Harold McNeill

    August 13, 2019 |

    August 13, 2019. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), a private enterprise group not unlike the Fraser Institute, is again on the campaign trail. They state ICBC rates are the highest in Canada, but, thankfully, Global BC inserted a section indicating the Insurance Bureau cherry-picked the highest number in BC and the lowest numbers in AB, ON and other Eastern Provinces. If you take a few minutes to check reliable sources you will find BC rates, are the lowest in Canada.

  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.