Norman L. MacNeil
Norman L. MacNeil of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, was called into the presence of his Lord, after a brief illness on January 20, 1969.
Born November 17, 1885 in Black River, Kent County, New Brunswick, he was the fifth of ten children born to Angus and Elizabeth (Doige) MacNeil, who were among the first in that area to be saved under the ministry of assembly preaching brethren.
Though raised of godly parents and in a home where many of the early pioneer assembly workers were frequently entertained, it was not until after his service with the Canadian Army in World War I and at the age of 33 that he finally came to a saving knowledge of Christ. He came under conviction of sin through the preaching of W. N. Brennan and R. Milnes, and was converted while recovering from a near fatal attack of influenza during the great epidemic of 1918.
He was one of the founders of the Moncton assembly. For many years the Lord’s Supper had been held periodically in his parent’s home. But in 1919 with seven breaking bread together the work was officially begun — a work which today has grown to the largest assembly in Eastern Canada. He was appointed its correspondent, a position he held until the time of his death. A man of firm principles and powerful leadership gift, his spiritual influence was not limited to just his home assembly but was felt throughout the assemblies of the Maritime Provinces.
He was a regional official of the Canadian National Railway when, after 40 years of service, he retired in 1950. His first love, however, was always that of the spread of the gospel to which he gave much of his spare energy and time. For many years he assisted the efforts of those preachers who pioneered the early assembly work in the Atlantic Provinces by preaching in cottage meetings and school houses. A bilingualist who spoke fluent French, he worked almost singlehandedly in bringing the gospel to the local French community. His passion for men’s souls and his zeal in the gospel never failed to the end.
In 1928 he married Margaret Brennan, the youngest daughter of his father in the faith. The home which they established during the four decades of their married life became a warm haven and example of Christian hospitality to countless numbers of the Lord’s servants, servicemen of World War II, missionaries and others.
Food for the Flock Inc. has sustained a loss in the passing of this esteemed brother He was one of the early members of the Committee. He sought to spread its written ministry throughout the Maritime Provinces.
The admirable qualities of steadfastness and diligence which characterized him were a source of encouragement and strength to those best acquainted with him.
At the annual meeting last year, his place was empty and although Mrs. MacNeil wrote submitting his resignation because of ill health, no action was taken by the Committee.
His task here is finished. He rests from his labours. His work and example among the assemblies remain as an inspiration to his many friends and relatives.
The funeral on January 23 was attended by an overflow crowd of several hundred who came from near and far to pay tribute in death to a life consistently lived for the things of God. George Heidman, a nephew-in-law, brought the principal message. Fred Ward, an esteemed friend and fellow elder in the assembly and Rae Fox of Halifax also took part in the service. Interment was in Fairhaven Memorial Gardens.
In addition to his widow, Mr. MacNeil is survived by two daughters and two sons, Mrs. Rodney Fisk, Oakville, Ontario; Mrs. Ainsley Allen, Amherst, Nova Scotia; Kenneth, New York City; Gordon, Moncton; 16 grandchildren; one sister, Mrs. Isaac McMullen; one brother, William, both of Moncton.