The family of Neil and Jean McNiven (nee Robertson) would like our friends and family to know that Neil has passed away in his 91st year, peacefully at home.
Neil spent his entire life on the original family farm (circa 1831) near Coulson in Oro-Medonte Township. Neil was the son of Everett and Evelyn McNiven (nee Beaton).
Neil’s lifelong farming career saw the transition from horses to tractors, driving livestock to the railway station in Carley to trucking directly to markets, non-winter-maintained roads to paved concession roads and the initial phone service at the farm to a cellphone in his pocket. Neil witnessed a lot of history and enjoyed quietly sharing these stories. In Neil’s youth, he was an active 4-H and Junior Farmers’ member with a special focus on both livestock and crop evaluation as well as weed identification. Over Neil’s farming career, his family raised beef cattle, fed hogs, shipped cream, grew potatoes and produced grain crops with the eventual focus to be on beef cattle production. In Neil’s later years, he took particular pride in his well-kept garden and pet dogs.
Neil was married to Jean (predeceased 2020) for more than 57 years. Neil looked after the farm while Jean taught school. They raised a family of four: John, Andy, Heather & Bonnie. Neil and Jean were very encouraging of Scouting /Guiding, 4-H, local fall fair participation and post-secondary education.
Neil was an active community member as a long-time director of Oro World’s Fair, retired Elder at Willis Presbyterian Church, Knox Cemetery Board Trustee, Oro Township History Committee member and he and Jean were named Oro-Medonte Senior Citizen’s of the Year in 2009.
Neil leaves behind his children: John (Sheryl), Andy (Lisa), Heather Nixon (Jeremy) and Bonnie Strachan (Paul). Neil will also be missed by his grandchildren: Sarah, Everett, Hugh, Alec, Lucy, William, Caroline, Isabelle and Josey. Neil is survived by his sister Dorothy (Michael Millar-predeceased), and predeceased by his twin sisters and brother in-laws Ada (Art Johnston) and Alice (Jack Anderson). Neil is survived by his Robertson in-laws, Bob Robertson (Donna) and John Robertson (Anne).
We would like to thank Neil’s medical team, friends, neighbours and family who offered support and visits over the past months.
A graveside service to celebrate the life of Neil McNiven will be held on Saturday May 14th, 2022 at 2pm at Knox Cemetery, Oro-Medonte. All are welcome to attend. As the service will be held outside, guests are requested to bring a chair as there is very limited seating available. For those who wish to remain in their vehicles, the service will be broadcast on FM 106.7 within the cemetery boundaries. Following the service, the family invites everyone to ODAS Park, Orillia for a reception and time of fellowship.
In Memory of Neil, memorial donations to the Ontario 4-H Foundation-North Simcoe Endowment Fund or the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital-Emergency Department would be gratefully appreciated.