Posts Tagged ‘Dianne McNeill ’

Frank Yochim (1937 – 2018)

Written by Harold McNeill on December 26th, 2018. Posted in Biographies


Frank Yochim (1937 – 2018)

The post opens with two slideshows, one that reveals Franks deep connection to his family, friends, workmates and community and, the second, a look at the family and friends he left behind as they gathered in celebration of his life and in support of one another.

Frank Yochim Memorial

Family Time: Reflections

Songs:  It’s a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, and You’ve Got a Friend in Me by Randy Newman from the movie soundtrack, Toy Story.

Introduction:

In December 2018, we bid a final farewell to my brother-in-law Frank Yochim who joined our family fifty-seven years ago when he married my next younger sister, Louise Kathleen McNeill.  In this collaborative post, we refer to the memories of his wife, children and friends to gain a measure of the man, who, in many ways was not easily defined even by those closest to him.

It was his first-born, Gregory Frank Yochim, (photo) who took up the challenge of completing the eulogy for his father. In a short period after arriving from Phoenix, Arizona where he and his family live, Greg along with his brother Lorin Yochim, pulled together a dazzling series of anecdotes from their siblings, other family members and friends, anecdotes that left everyone laughing and crying, often at the same time.

It was a challenging half hour that first-born son whose emotions were always close to the surface, as in his words: “ If I watch a video of two puppies playing, it makes me cry. If you were at my wedding twenty-seven years ago you’ll remember that I could barely make it through the reception speeches.”  The eulogy was then followed by a six-minute slideshow prepared by third oldest son, Lorin Yochim. If there was a dry eye in the house when Greg finished, and I doubt there was, there certainly wasn’t when that slideshow was complete.

Seeing and feeling the heartfelt response of over two hundred and fifty people paying their respects at the Harbour Light Alliance Church, left no doubt Frank will be long remembered not only for his good works but also for the love he quietly spread among those who knew him best, his family and friends. In the following, I have italicized the words of Greg, his siblings and others who lovingly remembered Frank.  We begin with Greg:

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Cold Lake High School Years: The Journey Begins

Written by Harold McNeill on April 29th, 2014. Posted in Family 1940 1965


 

Cold Lake Air Force Base

Early in the 1950’s the largest RCAF Station ever constructed in Canada was taking shape in Alberta. The small, remote, communities of Cold Lake and Grande Centre, that grew ever so slowly over the first fifty years of the century, would be shaken to their foundations as they struggled to come to terms with a massive influx of workers and their families. Our family was one of the many seeking to find their way.

Chapter 1:  The Journey Begins 1953
(Link to Chapter 2, Cold Lake High 1955 -1960)
Link Here for other Family Stories in this Series

Dear Reader,

For the several months, I struggled with how to write this post about our return to Cold Lake. To this point, it was easy to tell the stories as they were all generally positive. Even though our family was constantly on the move over the twelve years until this story, everything was relatively stable on the home front. All that changed in 1953 after arriving in Cold Lake and it continued in one form or another until our Dad passed away suddenly in 1965. While I will not dwell on the ugly parts, and there were many, I felt compelled to

Harold Louise Dianneexpress the feelings that enveloped me during those tumultuous years as a means to better understand myself and, perhaps, as a message to others.

I rather expect at least a few of my school friends shared similar experiences and might even take solace in knowing they were not alone.  The background to this story is alcohol abuse, but it could easily have been any of a dozen other things that cause family units to fracture – drugs, infidelity, mental illness, etc.  Children and teenagers, in particular, are vulnerable when this happens and need to know they are never alone, that even when things get really bad, the future can still hold a great deal of promise.

Indeed, this will become evident in parts of this post and in subsequent posts through the High School years and beyond. A great many positive things can happen even if life on the home front has spiralled into periods of darkness.

Photo: If taken between October and December 1958, I was seventeen, Louise fourteen, and Dianne four.  Louise remembered our ages as she recognized the skirt as one she sewed in her Grade 9 Home Ec class. Look at Louise for a moment. For those who know her daughter Karena, can you see Karina’s sassy smile and eyes? Looking at clothes, I also remember the day those grey ‘flecked’ dress pants arrived by mail order from Sears.  They became my favourite dress up in High School.  And, as for that sweet, innocent little girl on the right, my heart aches for having completely missed knowing her when she was young. 

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Mount Albert Edward, Climbers Found Alive

Written by Harold McNeill on October 3rd, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Christopher Yao and Jean Simon-Lessard

Climbers Found Alive on Mount Albert Edward

This morning’s headline in the Times Colonist brought back memories of an adventure that my sister Dianne McNeill, her partner Michel Payeur and I shared last year about this same time when we tackled Mount Albert Edward. (Link to Story and Photos)

In the present incident, “Jean-Simon Lessard, 22, and Christopher Yao, 31,(pictured above) were found in good condition after four days stranded in frigid weather at the 1,500-meter level near Moat Lake, three to four kilometers from Mount Albert Edward, which is where the men intended to go.”  (Times Colonist, Thursday, October 3, 2013, Link to story and Photos)

In the McNeill – Payeur challenge, taken in late September 2012, the weather was clear and crisp on our outbound trek to Moet Lake and even seemed promising the next morning, but by late afternoon that second day things deteriorated quickly when a storm front moved in. The temperatures dropped and the surrounding mountains were soon covered with heavy cloud that produced rain at the lower levels and snow above the freezing level at 1000 meters.

While Dianne and Michel proceeded with our plan to tackle the mountain by main route along Circlet Lake, I opted to cross Moet Lake by boat with a young man camping at the same site. On the north side of the lake, snow from previous slides had nearly reached the shoreline and, combined with the steep terrain and slippery conditions, made climbing conditions nearly impossible. We were not able to reach the main trail to intersect  Dianne and Michel by that time faced their own challenges and had to make their descent after dark in weather and trail conditions that were very dangerous.

Full Story and Photos join Dianne, Michel and Harold at:  Mount Albert Edward: An Adventure:

Full Story and Photos of Jean and Christopher go to: Times Colonist:

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Mount Albert Edward: An Adventure

Written by Harold McNeill on September 20th, 2012. Posted in Adventure


golden_hinde

Cover Photo (from Web). No this is not Mount Albert Edward, this is the Golden Hind, viewed from Morrison Spire (photo by  Dave Ingram). The Golden Hind, at 2200 meters (7217 feet), is the highest peak on Vancouver Island. This photo is placed here as it will serve as a challenge to Dianne and Michel who will surely stand on that peak in the not to distant future. Perhaps, just perhaps, I shall stand with them. The mountain we set about to challenge on this trip is the somewhat lessor (although not by much) Mount Albert Edward. a respectable 2100 meters (6900 feet). The twists and turns of the trip are documented in this short story of our three days in Strathcona Park.

Link Here for the Mount Colonel Foster Adventure

I am most fortunate to live within an extended family whose quest for adventure has motivated me in every decade of my life. In the recent decade, since joining Facebook, never a week goes by that the details of new adventure by some family member or friend is posted. It is the posts about real life experiences and adventures that serve as constant motivation too challenge life at every turn, not the memes and platitudes that seem to come with such frequency.

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Hiking Mount Colonel Foster

Written by Harold McNeill on September 3rd, 2012. Posted in Adventure


Hiking Travelogue by Dianne McNeill and Michel Payeur

Link Here for the Mount Albert Edward Adventure

This weekend we did a backcountry hike we’ve been wanting to do since we first moved to the island…an overnighter into Mt. Colonel Foster. We loaded 30-35 lb gear/food into our backpacks and off to the mountains we headed.

I wondered how I was going to cope with the pack…but my strength, agility and endurance were well up to the task. And what a wonder-full weekend it was! Glacier fed waterfalls and lakes, beaver engineered ponds, SNOW!, forest scented by giant cedars, jagged mountain peaks, the green only seen in sun thru the rainforest canopy, tumbling/rushing rivers.

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read you article on Pibroch excellent. My Dad was Searle Grain company agent we move there in 1942/3 live in town by the hall for 5 years than moved one mile east to the farm on the corner where the Pibroch road meets Hwy 44. Brother Don still lives there. I went to school with you and Louise.