He couldn’t perform miracles and he may have had normal human flaws, but W.O. Michael Robert McNeil was remembered as a man who stood head and shoulders above many.
“I do not believe that Michael walked on water, nor that he was perfect,” Padre Randy Stanton said during McNeil’s funeral service at the Truro Armoury on Thursday, Dec. 5.
“I suspect he was bit of a rascal by times, thus the name of the family dog,” said Stanton, who further described McNeil as “perhaps a bit stubborn, opinionated” and as one who “certainly didn’t suffer fools lightly.”
McNeil, 39, of the 3rd Battallion, Royal Canadian Regiment, was a former Truro resident who died at the Canadian Forces Base in Petawawa, Ont. on Nov. 27, in an apparent suicide.
His service, solemn and respectful but peppered at times with humourous antidotes from his life, was attended by several hundred people — from family and friends to military comrades in arms — who packed the armoury auditorium to standing room only.
“We are here to face death. It is our time to grieve, to struggle but not to give up hope, not to be overwhelmed,” Stanton said. “But with God’s grace, with those around us to celebrate a life well lived and to seek comfort for those of us left behind and to begin our way forward.”
Occasionally, Stanton suggested, we are given a chance to pause and reflect on the mysteries of life and death and “on who we are and…