Mary ‘Viola’ Mac Neil
It is with broken hearts that we announce the passing of Mary ‘Viola’ MacNeil on Monday, July 10th , 2023 in St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, Antigonish surrounded by her family. Viola was born in Antigonish on July 22, 1964 to Francis A. and Isabel C. (MacIntyre) MacNeil.
Viola is survived by her partner, Gillis Cloake and her children Meghann Strachan and Patrick Strachan (Stephanie Vanegas) and Meghann’s children Eiledh, Camden and Ruby Viola.
Viola is also survived by her sisters Bernadette MacNeil, Barbara MacKinnon (Harvey), Elizabeth Johnston (Brian), brothers Carl MacNeil (Cathy), Barry MacNeil (Carol), her sister-in-law, Lorraine Mac Donald and brother-in-law, John Bunyan.
Also left to mourn are Violas 21 nieces and nephews who thought the world of their Auntie Vi. She is survived, also, by her aunts, Kathleen Gillis, and Doris MacNeil her uncles, Irvin and Harold MacIntyre and her many cousins. Viola will also be missed by Gillis’ sister, Fran, and her family.
Besides her parents, Viola was predeceased by her sister, Kathy Bunyan; brothers, John Francis (in infancy) and Gary MacDonald; also, her niece, Carly Bunyan and nephew, Eugene Ryan.
Viola was raised in Sugar Camp, Cape Breton where wide open spaces and no one but family around for miles allowed her to see beauty in the simple things like apple blossoms in the orchard, baby chickens and dusty strawberries on the side of the dirt road when walking barefoot to Cassie’s Hole for a swim. This appreciation for simplicity was reflected everywhere throughout her life, in the art work in her home, in the joy she received from watching a classic movie or crocheting a doily.
Viola did not need extra, only enough.
“If you have two coats, you have one too many” ~ VMN
She was kind and generous, a woman of faith and hope which brought her comfort during her illness. Her greatest joy in life was her children, Meghann and Patrick and she did not miss an opportunity to talk about how proud she was of them. Whether it was hockey or highland dancing when they were little, or bigger challenges as grownups she was in that corner supporting and cheering for them. She had only recently met Patrick’s fiancé Stephanie but loved her immediately and was overjoyed for her son. Viola shared a special, deep bond with Meghann, they were best friends. Meghann’s children Eiledh, Camden and Ruby Viola adored their grandmother and watching them grow lit up Violas life.
Gillis cared for Viola lovingly at home, extending her time in the home that she loved. Her family are grateful to him for the care and comfort that he provided for her.
The family would like to thank Dr. Cooper and Kyla for their care, also the Palliative Care staff in Antigonish for the dignity and comfort which they provided for Viola and all of us while there.
Viola was an amazing person, a valued confidant and she had a wicked sense of humor.
The visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. on Monday, July 17 in Dennis Haverstock Funeral Home, Port Hawkesbury. Funeral mass will be 11 a.m., Tuesday from St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Port Hawkesbury with Father Joby Augustin officiating. Burial at a later date.
Donations in memory of Viola may be made to The Port Hawkesbury Food Bank. Words of comfort may be forwarded to the family at: www.haverstocks.com
“We are going to miss you
We’ll see you when we get there..”