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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  • 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.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.