78, Sydney

After a life of loving, caring for others, and being the kindest and the gentlest being, God has called his most beautiful angel back to be with Him. It is with broken hearts that we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend Kathleen ‘Joan’ (O'Day) MacNeil on Friday, January 31, 2014, at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, surrounded by her loving family after a brief illness.

Joan was the youngest daughter of the late Thomas and Madge (Boland) O'Day. She was the last surviving member of her immediate family.

Mom was born and lived her entire life in Whitney Pier. She was a life-long member of Holy Redeemer Parish, where for years she was a member of the senior folk choir. After graduating from Holy Redeemer Girls' School, Mom married Dad and raised her family. She later worked at Zellers and finally went on to work as switchboard operator at Sydney City Hospital/Cape Breton Regional Hospital until her retirement in 1997. Her quick wit, dry sense of humor and warm personality drew people to her, as she was fun and made everyone feel comfortable and welcome. Mom loved her work at the switchboard at the old City Hospital and made many life-long friends there whom she cherished. Mom's true joy in life was spending her summers at "the bungalow" at Johnston's Harbour. This is where Mom was most happy with all her family around, sharing card games (which she usually won), teaching her grandchildren the skills of rummy and scat, and where everyone gathered for music and fun memories. How she loved to dance!

Mom was a book-worm in every sense of the word and enjoyed reading immensely, soaking up books of every sort, and she passed this love of reading on to her children and grandchildren.
Mom was an incredible cook, famous for her awesome cabbage rolls, and always made sure to have a "stash" of treats for the kids. She was a creative person who loved sewing and art and encouraged this in her family. Nan loved new technology and kept in touch with her grandchildren via MSN and Facebook. No one could set up the satellite control and remote quite like her!

Mom was absolutely devoted to her family and making sure everyone's needs were met. No matter the circumstances, Mom always had a smile and warm words of love. In her gentle wisdom, Mom guided all of us through our difficult times, believed in us, and made everyone feel special and loved. She always listened, encouraged, advised, and taught us that you can be strong yet gentle. Mom strongly believed that children were a gift to be loved and cherished. She was even considered a second "mum" by many of her children's friends, and even to her grandchildren's friends. The most important things to her were to treat others as you want to be treated, forgiveness, and respect. She was a woman of strong faith and believed in the power of prayer and love. Mom's hugs were the warmest; her kisses the gentlest; she was simply the best. We'll carry the many wonderful memories of her with us, and her message to live life full of "love, love, love".

Mom is survived by daughters, Joan (Murray) Dingwall, Sharon (Rick) Tubrett, Kathy (Marty) Kolanko, Betty-Anne (Steve) MacPhee; son, John and grandchildren, Jenifer (Roy) Dingwall-MacDonald, Emily Dingwall (Jen White), Gina (Chris) Tubrett Crawley, Richard (Jana) Tubrett, Matthew Tubrett, Natasha Kolanko and Ellen, Andrew, and Joanna MacPhee. She is also survived by four great-grandchildren, Madilynn Crawley, Jack Tubrett, Mason and Jesse MacDonald; her sisters-in-law, Catherine Orychock, Visia MacNeil and Ann MacNeil, and many nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband of 53 years, Joseph (Dewey); her sisters, Margaret (Reginald) Donovan, Letty (Les) Young; and her brother, Tom (Eileen) O'Day.

Visitation for the late Joan MacNeil will be held on Sunday, February 2, 2014 at the Pier Community Funeral Home, Whitney Pier, 1092 Victoria Rd. (entrance on Church Street), from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral mass will be celebrated on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, at 11 a.m. in Holy Redeemer Church with Fr. Bill Burke officiating. Interment will take place in Resurrection Cemetery, Sydney Forks.

Donations in memory of Joan may be made to the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton County or charity of one’s choice.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care and direction of Pier Community Funeral Home.
"I am sad to leave, but I have to go."

Send an online condolence.


                        Online Condolences

John and I were so saddened to hear of Joan's passing. You are a wonderful family and we know that your comfort for one another will help you through this difficult time. Please accept our deepest condolences.
Sincerely, John and Helen King and Family

Betty Ann, Steve, Ellen, Andrew and Joanna, We are so sorry to hear of the passing of your Mother and Grandmother. I know she always played a huge role in your lives. we hope you take solice in all the beautiful memories you have with such a wonderful soul. She will live on in the kind and loving people she has created in All of you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our sincerest condolences, Lorraine, Sebastian, Alex and Anneka Sheppard

To the family our thoughts and prayers are with each and everyone of you …..my mom would wait to see your mom at church on sunday…she always had a beautiful smile and hug ….they are angels together now.
From:  The family of Peggy Burt Brophy and the French Family

Dear Sharon & Kathy; Sincerest sympathy on the great loss of your loving mother. I remember Joan so well at the Sydney City Hospital switchboard, so very kind & lovely. Please extend our sincerest condolences to all the family.
Sincerely; Annette & Brian Tetford

Thoughts and prayers to Joan's family. I remember her well from the City and the Regional always so kind, pleasant and willing to help when needed. She will be missed!
From:  Janet DeYoung
So sorry for you loss.
From:  Gloria Cleary (O'Day grandmother)

Dear Sharon & family. Our deepest sympathies are extended to all on the passing of your mother. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
From:  Wilf & Charlotte Ingram

Joan,Sharon,Kathy,Betty and John,we just want to send our condolences on your mom's passing, may god rest her soul.
From:  Shirley and Marlene

Betty-Anne & Family; Sorry for the lost of a lovely co-worker (your Mom). Working days were most enjoyable when Joan was on duty, as she always was so kind to staff and clients. May your hearts become lighter knowing that you Mom has given so much of herself at work, home, community, etc.
From:  Mary Sawler, Former Admitting Employee

Sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom. She was a very special lady. I still have fond memories of her and all the fun times I had at the house and bungalow many years ago. She always treated me like one of the family. She will be missed a lot. Hugs to all and I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
From:  Marion (LeBlanc) MacKenzie

Thinking of our Cape Breton cousins with love and care.
From:  Anne-Lorraine, Noah, Meaghan, Brian and Brodeigh

We Walsh family members, living in Halifax, were very sorry to learn of Joan's death. Our Argosy Street families have been connected on many levels over the years. So please accept our heartfelt condolences, and our wish that Joan's life will be honoured through all those who knew her.
From:  Janice Walsh-Ward

I went to Holy Redeemer with your mother. My aunt Sister Josephine Gillis was one of our teachers. I was saddened to hear of her death. My condolences.
From:  Elaine (Presseau) Sanchioni