February 6, 1935 – February 21, 2023
In loving memory ~
Neil passed away peacefully at home with his wife Betty by his side on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, after a long-fought battle with Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia. Neil is survived by Betty, his loving wife of 65 years; sister Katherine of Trail; brother Douglas of Cobble Hill; sister Margaret of Anchorage; sister-in-law Mary of Nanaimo; and many nieces and nephews. As well, the many friends around the world, who were like an extended family to him and Betty.
Neil was born in Nelson, B.C. Growing up in Nelson he played hockey in the Nelson Amateur Hockey Association and was goaltender for the Fairview Bantams, at one time receiving the MVP award, even though as goaltender his team lost the game. In 1956 his knowledge and love of hockey won him a trip to New York, which he enjoyed with his father, who, as a young man, also played hockey.
Neil was a member of the Nelson Power Boat Association, where he built and raced Class A Hydro boats, winning first place in many races in both Canada and the United States.
In 1955 Neil’s job in Nelson transferred him to Prince George, and then to Nanaimo, where he met the love of his life Betty, and they married in 1958. In 1980 Neil opened Videl Automotive, which he owned and operated until his retirement in 1998.
Neil and Betty bought their first boat in 1969 and joined the Nanaimo Yacht Club, spending the next 40 years cruising the coast of Vancouver Island. They enjoyed many cruises to other parts of the world, and through the years travelled to over 50 countries, some many times, with Australia and Italy being among their favourites. For many years they enjoyed their homes in Arizona, making lifelong friends, and opening their home to visiting friends and family.
Neil was a past President of the Nanaimo Kinsmen Club, and winner of the Kinsman of the Year award; a past Director of the Nanaimo Gyro Club; a charter member of the Nanaimo Probus Club; a member of the Masonic Lodge No. 110 of Nanaimo; a volunteer driver of the Masonic Cancer Car program where he received a 10-year driving medal; and a member of the Nanaimo Yacht Club.
Neil was blessed to have an amazing team of caregivers who called him Grampa, and with Betty, looked after him for the last five years. They were his angels, and led by Joann Merto, allowed Neil to remain at home where he was well loved by all of them. We would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Community Support for Independent Living, the kindness of Dr. Kevin Martin, and the Palliative Care at Home team for their help during Neil’s final journey.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to BC Marine Parks Forever Society or a charity of your choice.
An Open House to celebrate Neil will be held Sunday, March 26th at home, 262 Nottingham Drive, Nanaimo, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
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