Welcome to McNeill Life Stories

Written by Harold McNeill on January 17th, 2012. Posted in Index to Posts

Family Photo

Welcome to the McNeill Life Stories Blog

Most of the Photo Albums Linked to a story appear on the
McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page

Above Photo Taken July 2008. Laura Skarsen (McNeill) (Wheeler) surrounded by her immediate family at her 90th birthday party that was held in Cold Lake, Alberta.

Back Row (L to R): Jin An (partially hidden) and Lorin Yochim, Sean McNeill, Mark Yochim, Greg and Merle Yochim, Frank Yochim (standing behind Merle), Stephen Yochim and Pam Dong Yochim, Charlene Yochim, Krista Miron-Rabideaux (McNeill) and friend, Candice Yochim.

Second Row (L to R): Ed Walker (holding Grayson) and Kari Walker (McNeill), Jesse Rabidoux (partially hidden behind Grayson), Christine McNeill, Jay McNeill, Louise Yochim (McNeill), Skyler Yochim, Dianne McNeill, Shawna Buenaventura (Yochim), Lynn McNeill (Davis) and Harold McNeill, Karena Yochim, Stephanie Yochim, Jamie Yochim, Laura Skarsen (McNeill) (Wheeler), Ashley Price and Luna, Kelsey Yochim and Landon, Cassandra Rabidoux, Brooke Buenaventura.

Front Row (L to R): Amy Rabidoux, Sydney Buenaventura, Carmen Yochim, Connor Schumacker, Francis Buenaventura and Brody.

Not Present: Michel Payeur (work commitments) and Kaiya McNeill-Payeur (traveling Europe).

Development of the Blog

Background to Stories

What began as a hobby, the posting comments on Facebook, soon transitioned into writing full length travelogues and variety of other posts for family and friends. An interest in writing the family history stories gained momentum in 2008 with the passing of our mother, Laura Isabel Skarsen who, even at the age of 90, loved to reminisce about the early years of her family. It seemed a shame to let her stories disappear into the mists of time.

Once that task was well under way it was only natural to begin writing stories about other family, friends and workmates who became involved in interesting life situations. As documenting these life stories became wider ranging, it became increasingly difficult to post, link and index the stories on Facebook. Development of this blog was a natural outcome.

While the blog currently has a good representation of stories in a variety of areas, dozens of other stories remain works in progress. After five years of writing, and as we proceed through 2013, the posts have expanded into many of areas including Editorials on current affairs. If you enjoy some of the story lines, please pass along the link to your family and friends.

My Facebook Homepage, Facebook Group PageTwitter, Mail Chimp and other methods will be used to provide periodic notifications of new story lines being posted.

To join the Facebook Group “McNeill Life Stories” (LINK HERE)

While I was going to use Flicker for posting family, travel and general interest photos over the next few years, I found Facebook Group Page better serves the purpose.

As their is now over 225 posts on the McNeill Life Stories Blog, and full index is currently in progress and should be completed by the end of October 2014.

I am still experiencing a number of technical challenges as I learn to manage a blog, but am slowly working through those challenges. If you run across an issue please send me an email with a suggestion. Your assistance would be much appreciated.

Email Contact: harold@mcneillifestories.com

Finally, a word on writing. Writing family and life stories, travelogues and editorials is something that is new for me and I am working hard to improve both the content and style. This is a slow process, but thanks to others who continue to prod me along the path, I look forward to making progress.

Also, thank you to the many friends who have engaged in off-line conversations.  The discussions certainly help me to clarify my own thinking on a number of subjects, it also provides considerable material for more posts.


Harold McNeill
Victoria, BC
2010 (updated to 2014)


A series of miscellaneous posts including the Tim Hortons Tim-Bits (Introduction Link)

Family Stories 1940 – 1965:

It was during this period my sister, and I grew up in deep in the wilderness of Northern Saskatchewan and Alberta. Born in the early 1940s, during the height of World War II, our lives bridged the gap between the immigrant pioneer lives of our grand-parents and parents and the life of our younger sister and our own children who grew to adulthood in the third quarter of the 20th century. Thumbnails of the stories may be found at: Family Stories

Police Notebook (in progress):

Three decades of policing between 1965 and 1995, produced not only a lot of humour, but also involvement in many high profile criminal cases that stretched across Western Canada and into the United States. Having kept all my police notebooks helped to provide easy access to details of the most interesting stories and anecdotes. A few stories have been completed and many more are in progress: (Police Notebook Thumbnails)

Fire Department:

A series of short stories about the lives and times of a group of young men from Cold Lake, Alberta who were dropped into the middle of the Cold War that enveloped the world from the 1950s through to the late 1960s. It was a time when international ideological differences, accompanied by nuclear proliferation, pushed mankind to the brink of extinction. Join the series at: Flying Log Book (in progress): (Fire Department Link)

Flying Log Book

While flying did not become a full time profession during the 15 year period following 1960, it did provide a number of interesting experiences both in the northern wilderness areas of Alberta and, later, while conducting aerial surveillance in the skies over southwestern British Columbia. Personal flying stories are currently works in progress. For an introductory story of an experience by a family friend go to: (Flying Log Book)


Among family, friends and acquaintances there have been plenty of adventures, some benign, some dangerous, with each providing a lesson that life is best experienced when pushing the limits. For more go to: (Adventure Link)

Editorial Comment:

Never one to keep opinions to myself has led to many lively debates. It is all too easy to find topics in a world where business, government and media interests frequently attempt to lead us toward a world view that is often at odds with fact. You only need look as far as the many wars we are currently waging (war on drugs, war on crime, war on terror, etc.). Perhaps you might read a post in this section that will cause you to have second thoughts on a subject or, at the very least, inspire you to argue another point of view. Go to: (Editorial Link)


While Lynn and I have done only a modest amount of world travel, on those treks we have enjoyed taking photos and posting stories about our experiences on Facebook. Whether in a small motor home in the Australian outback or backpacking across Europe you may find something of interest when planning your own travels. Go to: (Travelogue Index Link)   She also Guests Posts comments below.

Movie and Book Reviews:

Over the past few months I began posting movie reviews on Facebook. While movies and books are very much subject to personal taste, it is still fun posting an opinion and then seeing how others might feel. Go to: (Reviews Link)

As of 2014, I have pretty much stopped writing in this area, as it is time consuming and there of other topics of greater interest that have captured my imagination.


Every person has many interesting stories to tell. This section will capture some of those stories, the first being four chapters devoted to our mother Laura Isabel Skarsen (McNeill) (Wheeler) 1918 – 2008. Go to: https://www.mcneillifestories.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&layout=category&task=category&id=2&Itemid=206

Guest Posts: (In Progress)

Over the years I have received several documents containing poetry, short stories and other works from family and friends. These collected works will be posted in this section. (Guest Posts Link)   As of 2014, my sister Dianne McNeill began to write a number of posts about her travels and adventures.  She has a real knack and to this point has been posting only on her regular Facebook Page.  As time permits more of her travel adventure stories will be added to a special section of the blog.

Volunteer Service: (In Progress)

During seventeen years of retirement that began in the mid 1990s, as a ‘full time, stay at home dad’ I was provided with ample opportunity to become involved in a wide variety of sports both as a coach and as an administrator. The most recent seven years were spent helping to organize National and International sporting events including two Soccer World Cups. Go to:

Fiction (In Progress)

Navigating the Blog

The Home Page provides a short introduction to the current Top Stories and others that have been brought forward as a result of ongoing interest.

Story Categories appear on the left. Click a category to access a particular group. The most recent 25 stories is listed just below the categories.

The Most Recent 25 stories, which includes brought forward posts, is listed under the Story Categories

A full Index to all stories will be complete by the end of October, 2014.  In addition to the Index, stories written in chronological order (e.g. McNeill Family 1941 – 1965) will have internal links connecting the Next Story, Last Story and a Link to the Index.

The “Search Box”, searches names, places and other words throughout the entire blog. For example, seaching “Aunt Pat” will bring up all stories in which her name appears.

At the bottom of a story page there are several additional options:

  • Tags: Clicking on a tag name will bring up the names of stories in which the person ha been ‘tagged”.
  • Sharing: Stories can be shared through your social network site by clicking on the icon (Facebook, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, StumbleUpon, MySpace, Technorati and Twitter.
  • Comments can be made at your leisure.

Harold McNeill
Victoria, B.C.


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  • Mike Fedorowich

    September 1, 2023 |

    I have gone through the above noted text and have found it quite informative.
    I am a former member with several law enforcement agencies from across Canada.
    I worked in the First Nations service under the authority of the RCMP with the over sight of the OPP. My law enforcement service was conducted under the authority of the Nishnawbe – Aski Police Service in North West Ontario the Louis Bull Police Sevice in Hobbema AB, the Kitasoo Xaixais Police Service in Northern in side passage on Swindle Island, the Lac Suel Police Service North West Ontario and the Vancouver Transit Authority Sky Train Police Service. I’m presently dealing with an RCMP member for falsifying a report against me for a road rage event. Court case is finished and the charge was dropped but I have an on going complaint with the member and have forwarded to the WATCH DOGS IN OTTAWA FOR the RCMP review and consideration. I believe the said officer is in violation of his oath of office and should be held accountable for falsifying his RTCC all the while dragging me through the court system here in Nanaimo. RCMP continue to stonewall the appeal but Ottawa and the crowns office are still looking into the matter. if your able and find the time or the interest in this very brief introduction, I would very much like to speak with you and would be grateful to hear any wisdom that may come across from your end. I served with First Nations Police Services for ten years in isolation and six years with Transit Police out of New West Minster. I do value and appreciate any time you could spare to chat for a bit on this particular subject matter. Respectfully with out anger but an open mind, Mike Fedorowich Nanaimo BC 250 667 0060

  • 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.