Ivey Geraldine McNeill (nee Graham)
It is with heavy hearts we share the passing of Ivey McNeill (nee Graham) Feb 9, 2023. Predeceased by Daniel, Bruce and Jane she leaves to mourn Glenda (Terry) Osnach, John McNeill (Charlene), & Judy McNeill (Daniel’s widow). In all there are 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grand children, 1 great-great grand child, all very dear to her if unable to be near.
Ivey was born in Carman, MB on June 30, 1931. She grew up on Forest Home Farm south of Carman, a large mixed farm. Initially educated at home by her mother Clemina Graham (nee Ivey), a graduate of the Ontario Ladies College in Toronto. Formal schooling began in Grade 3 at Newton School. Ivey graduated from Carman High School, as Provincial Girls High Jump champion, in 1948. After high school Mom entered Brandon College, graduating with a BA including the awards for English & Philosophy in 1951, followed by a B Ped in 1953.
In 1954 Ivey married Rev G Bruce McNeill with whom she’d reconnected during her first full time teaching job in Teulon, MB. Following a year teaching in Teulon, Mom moved to Saskatoon & worked as a social worker there while Bruce completed his Diploma in Divinity at St Andrews College. Once ordained he took up his first full time ministry at Eastend, SK.
They raised four children. Glenda (1955) & Jane (1957) both born in Eastend, Daniel (1960) in Nipawin, SK while at Alysham, SK & John (1962) born in Prince Albert, while living in Shellbrook, SK.
Ivey and Bruce lived in many rural areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta, then Ontario followed by Manitoba, Saskatchewan & back to Manitoba. Never a stay at home mother, she taught in schools in all of these areas at least part time, something not necessarily approved of in small rural communities at that time.
When maintaining professional certification while moving across provincial boundaries became more and more difficult Ivey did other things. She taught adult education at Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, Whitby, ON and at Pelican Lake Training Centre in Ninette, MB. She ran a thrift shop, a cafe, and looked after grandchildren, making sure they had opportunities for summer camping. Mom taught in four provinces plus the federal education system at Fisher River when Bruce was Minister for the UCC Mission at Koostatak, MB better known as Fisher River Cree Nation.
She was the greatest Grandma to all. We will remember her priceless help in raising Ivan & Andrew when Ivey & Bruce returned to Manitoba in 1988. Bruce subsequently retired in 1990 to Elm Creek, MB where they resided until Bruce died in 2008. Ivey moved to Stonewall, MB in 2009 to live with Glenda & family.
Ivey was involved with the United Church, being described as a presbytery rep and Mission and Service enthusiast in the UCC newsletter following her death. She met and influenced many people throughout her life. She was generally very kind but could be formidable when she didn’t agree. She was not afraid to speak her mind. Ivey was especially supportive of her children despite the challenges we all presented at times.
Stresses moving across provinces keeping her children on top of changes to education curriculum also created many other challenges. First settling into every new community with its unique culture, then finding the myriad other supports necessary to raise a family.
Ivey moved into Stonewall & District Lions Manor, 2015, made many friends and a whole community of people grew up around her. She made sure the chair exercise group was up and at it 3 days a week, before and as soon as the early pandemic lock down was lifted. She tried to keep track of her many, often more elderly friends, fretting when they didn’t seem to have much contact with family or others in the community. These friends reciprocated by being there for her once close family moved away from the Stonewall area.
Ivey was fiercely independent, surviving Thyroid Cancer surgery Dec 2010 followed by a stroke in Oct 2017 with determination, grace and dignity. A second Cancer diagnosis late in 2022 was a new challenge for her to surmount and made following Terry & Glenda to BC impossible.
She is sorely missed. We will love her forever and know she’ll have found the Scrabble enthusiasts in heaven.
A simple graveside ceremony is planned at Ivey’s request Elm Creek Cemetery, Elm Creek, MB June 5, 2023 at 2:00pm. Rev Harold Kenyon officiating.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Daniel & Jane McNeill Memorial Scholarship Fund, Brandon University; the United Church of Canada, Nature Conservancy Canada or the charity of your choice.