July 7, 1940- April 9, 2023
Don McNeill was born on July 7, 1940 in Simcoe, Ontario. On Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023, he passed away peacefully at Collingwood General Hospital. Don, son of Donald Charles and Gladys (Turnbull) McNeill is survived by: his dear wife of 60 years Jo-Anne (Christie) McNeill, his children Christie (Dan Tamblyn) McNeill, Andrew (Teresa Goncalves) McNeill, his grandchildren Noah and Sienna McNeill and his sister, Shirley (Ian) Rowe.
Don was a life-long student and avid reader who loved to learn. He earned B.A., M.Ed. and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Toronto and an M.A. (Classics) from McMaster University. He attended Victoria College at U of T where he made many life-long friends and met his wife, Jo-Anne. He always cherished his time at “Vic” and often shared stories of his time in the Glee Club, theatre groups and debate club to name of few of his extra-curricular activities. He was also the Alumni President for his graduation year, 1962.
He spent the first twenty years of his career, you guessed it, in school! He enjoyed his time teaching at North Toronto Collegiate (which he also attended as a student). Don also held numerous administrative positions within the Toronto Board of Education as well as being a seasonal lecturer for many years at Queen’s University and University of Toronto.
Don loved to travel. As the Head of Classics at North Toronto, Don annually took a group of students on archeological tours to Greece and Italy where so many of his fondest memories were made. He also spent many summers with Jo-Anne cruising around the Mediterranean. In later years, he and Jo-Anne spent every winter in Siesta Key, Florida which they loved. One of Don’s best memories was travelling through Egypt with his cousin (who grew up more like a brother to Don), Ross Turnbull and his wife Elizabeth.
In 1982, Don bravely decided to switch career paths and once again became a full-time student pursuing studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. After graduating, he joined the Shibley Righton law firm in Toronto where he practiced for many years as a litigator.
Don was a city boy at heart. However, he married Jo-Anne who grew up at Wasaga Beach, Ontario and loved the beach. Don was quickly forced to adapt and even finally learned to remove his shoes and socks in the sand. Don and Jo-Anne eventually moved permanently to Wasaga Beach into a house that they had custom built on the shores of Georgian Bay. The house quickly became and remains today home-base for their whole family. Don spent the later years of his legal career as a sole practitioner in Wasaga. He loved practicing law and through the years argued cases in all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
Don was very proud of his Scottish heritage and would use any opportunity that afforded itself to put on his Scottish Highland formal wear including his McNeill tartan kilt, waistcoat, sporran and dirk. One of the highlights of his life was using his cousin John’s old ordnance maps to locate his ancestral home in North Ardbeg, Scotland climbing over hills, jumping fences and travelling through fields of sheep to get there. The photos of the old farmhouse together with a shingle off the ancestral cottage sit proudly in the family dining room to this day. He jokingly referred to himself as “Lord of Glencoe” after receiving a small plot of land in the Scottish Highlands as a birthday gift one year.
Don also loved to take photographs and chronical the family’s events and celebrations in photo albums that he would spend hours putting together. He finished his last album bringing the books up to date just days before he passed.
Don will be missed beyond measure and remembered always by all that knew him, and in particular by his family that had the privilege to call him husband, father and grandfather.
Sympathy may be expressed through donations to St. Elizabeth Foundation (SEHC.comFoundationDonate) who so lovingly cared for him in recent months.
A private immediate family gathering will be held to honour Don with a celebration of life to follow at a later date.
Arrangements entrusted to Lynn-Stone Funeral Home, 15 Yonge Street South, Elmvale Ontario.
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