Arnold Henry McNEIL
A memorial mass will be held at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at St. Thomas More Catholic Parish, 210 Haddow Close, Edmonton. If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made to the Edmonton Palliative Care Program, 73 Plaza, 10030-107 Street NW, 4th Floor-South Tower, Edmonton, AB, T5J 3E4.
Arnold Henry McNeil was born January 12, 1937, aged 86 years, passed away at home in Edmonton, August 28, 2023, cared for by his devoted wife Lena and surrounded by his loving family.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years Lena McNeil, his five children, Laura Klotz of Edmonton, Charlene (Tim) McNeil Fortier of Edmonton, Daryl McNeil of Edmonton, Lawrence (Nancy) McNeil of McLennan, AB, Mona (Chad) Pelletier of St. Albert.
Grandchildren: Jordan (Emily) Klotz, Cherith Klotz, Tasha (Jaimie) MacIsaac, Mia Klotz, Kelsey (Evan) Fortier, Tristan Fortier, Brad (Carrie) Ariss, Josh (Michelle) McNeil, Jeremy (Jesi-Leigh) McNeil, Meagan McNeil, Jenna McNeil, Renee (Alan) Veltkamp, Breanne (Andrew deceased) Reigh, Tyson Pelletier.
Greatgrandchildren: Jaxson Jacobi, Abigail & Charlotte Ariss, Meia & Boon & Luna McNeil, Talia & Jason & Maverick Veltkamp, Kinzley Reigh.
Also survived by his loving brother Bert (Marianne) McNeil and numerous nieces and nephews.
Predeceased by his parents Ruby and Roy Nutt, and his siblings Gordon, Harold, Marge, Beatrice, Roy Jr., and Maurice.
Arnold, a man of gentle kindness, a big tender heart, always giving a helping hand and ready for hard work (sometimes too much work) was thrifty, yet extremely generous, helping his children as they made their way through life with endeavors, education, jobs, buying cars and homes. He made many good deals in life for the betterment of his family.
His gift of listening with such care and attention made so many people feel important and special. It meant everything to him to give his family a beautiful life. He was encouraging, supportive and often told his children individually how proud he was of them.
Arnold Henry Nutt, the 6th child and 4th son to Roy & Ruby Nutt, was born on their homestead at Dapp, Alberta and at a very young age he was actively involved in the farm work, developing a strong work ethic. He went on to work various jobs such as lumberjack, the oil rigs, K-division (for RCMP), and trained with the Navy reserve. He even tried his hand working as a cook in a camp for an entire week. Arnold began his 34 year career working for the Alberta Liquor Control Board (ALCB) at the age of 21. By the time he was 26 his leadership skills earned him a position as the youngest ALCB manager in Alberta’s history.
Arnold met Lena Blackburn at a country hall dance. His red V-neck sweater, broad shoulders and wavy black hair swept her off her feet. They were engaged on May 17,1959 and married exactly one year later on May 17,1960.
The following year, the honeymoon baby, Laura was born. Eighteen months later they were blessed with a second baby girl, Charlene. Then 1964 was a busy year with the welcome addition of two sons, one in January, Daryl, and in December, Lawrence. This was also the year the family surname was changed from Nutt to McNeil. Then two and a half years later, the baby of the family, Mona was born.
Arnold’s family of seven was complete and after a few moves around the Athabasca area, his family settled on a beautiful quarter section of land just east of Colinton. Considered a “hobby farm”, the happy home was given the name “Shady Lane Arabians”, where purebred Arabian horses were raised, along with a few cows, bantam chickens and various pets. Arnold entered his horses in shows, events, and in the Athabasca parade.
There were so many adventures to be had during these years, and Arnold worked hard building outbuildings and fences, along with his children. He and Lena even drove the school bus covering that area and transporting students to Athabasca.
Family life was filled with many good times at home, Sunday Mass every week, camping at Long Lake, visits with relatives and friends, boating and fishing at cabins, vacations to Hawaii, Mexico, Disneyland, Las Vegas, Penticton, Australia and family nights by the campfire or playing games.
He learned skills in massage, winemaking and making games such as “Mexican Golf” and Sequence. His attention to detail and creativity resulted in the most organized garage, and he turned whatever he had into something useful.
Most of his career was spent in Athabasca, Alberta, however he also managed stores in Derwent, Fort McMurray and Legal. After retirement, he tried various jobs including driving Zamboni at West Edmonton Mall, porter for Misericordia Hospital, Sheriff duties with his brother-in-law, Dennis, various duties at a neighbourhood Co-op store, and spent four years working maintenance at Good Shepherd Church.
Arnold’s love for his family extended to sons and daughters-in-law and to many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He enjoyed every visit with genuine interest in each new addition to the family. Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren enjoyed playing with him as “Grammy” (Lena) would keep busy preparing food and goodies in the kitchen. Their door was always open and warmth filled the home they shared.
Arnold will be greatly missed by all of those who were blessed to know him, a man of integrity and gentleness, loved by many.