Neil John Murray

8 May, 193326 December, 2020
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Peacefully at home in Bowmanville on December 26th in his 88th year. Son of the late Finlay and Jessie Murray. A proud Scotsman, Neil immigrated to Canada from Barvas, Isle of Lewis in 1967 eventually settling in Sault Ste. Marie. In 1989 his days as a bachelor ended when he married his beloved Elsie (Maki/Frech) with whom he shared over 31 wonderful years. Adored and admired father to Scott Maki (Laura) of Hamilton, Allison Corbett (Dave) of Bowmanville and Heather Kazmierczak (Chris) of Farmington Hills Michigan, who were all so blessed to have had Neil in their lives. Dear brother of Mairi MacDonald (late Donald) of Ottawa, the late John Murray (late Nora) and the late Alexander (Sandy) Murray (Etta) of Barvas. Dear brother-in-law to Marion Rosso (late Joe) of Sault Ste. Marie. Proud grandfather to Erich (Katelin) and Adam Bogensberger (Olivia), Stephanie and Jennifer Maki, Alex and Andrew Kazmierczak. Great-Grandfather (GGPa) to Jannah, Davey and Emmett Bogensberger. Special uncle to many nieces and nephews both in Canada and in Europe. Neil was a hardworking, kind and generous man who was always there to support his family and friends and whose company he enjoyed. He will be fondly remembered for his love of his family, literature, chocolate, ice cream drumsticks, making snow shoveling an art, and his swimming pool on Cartier St. which was enjoyed by his family, many friends and, on rare occasions, Neil himself. A heartfelt thank you to all of the caring staff of Bowmanville Creek Retirement Residence, Dr. W. Lottering and the many health care professionals who supported Neil over the past several months. A very special thank you to Bruce Cooke who accompanied our beloved Neil on his last journey. A celebration of Neil’s life will take place in the future when Covid restrictions are lifted and family and friends can gather. As an expression of sympathy, donations to the Sick Kids Foundation, Make A Wish Foundation or charity of your choice would be appreciated. Arrangements entrusted to the Courtice Funeral Chapel, 1587 Hwy #2, Courtice. Condolences –

Gu beatha a 'fuireach gu math. Slàinte , (To a life well-lived. Cheers)


Neil John Murray

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Kayla Cruickshank

18 January 2021

Neil was my great uncle, which is actually a wonderful way to describe him. He was pretty great.

My childhood is filled with fond happy memories of all those warm summer days spent at uncle Neil and aunty Elsies pool. You always felt welcome there, they greeted you with a smile every time. Plus it didn’t hurt that they always had popsicles or freezies on hand. But perhaps the best part was swinging in the hammock as he puttered around in the garden giving you all the best tips on plants.

I remember how in love Neil and Elsie were and how she meant so much to him. She gave him a wonderful family that I’m sure made his life feel so much more complete. I will always remember as a child I thought he was my Shenars brother, rather than my granny’s. They had such a wonderful friendship and bond. The house was always filled with laughter and entertainment when they were together.

He will be missed by so many, but has left a lasting impression. All our love to aunty Elsie and Allison for taking such good care of them both.


17 January 2021

With deep sadness and love to Aunty Elsie and family and my Mum and family (we are, after all, all one) condolences on the passing of my uncle Neil.

I remember when he would come home to Scotland. We would wait with great anticipation for the gifts he would bring, we all thought he was a millionaire, us kids anyway. There would be lots of partying and he was even known to disappear for a few days partying with his old friends. (when you're cool you're cool.)

He is also the reason our family came to Canada ('75) and he was there for us every step of the way. I remember when he picked us up at the airport in the Soo in his huge blue Buick le Sabre (huge to us because Scotland had small cars for years). Reminded me of an American gangster movie. I still remember the ride in to the Soo, the tall grass, the dark bush, what kind of land is this? Thank you Neil for us striking roots in Canada.

There are also many happy memories of our lives in Canada. All the Christmas dinners at Fanny's on Arizona Ave. where we spent our first few months in the Soo. Birthday parties, new years, day trips, weddings and just hanging out.

With all love and respect to a cool uncle, we will miss you and cherish the times we had together.
God bless, rest in peace, the coming to end of a generation, a different way of life
May the angel of peace encompass Elsie and all our family.
Love forever, Derek

Elsie Murray

13 January 2021

I am so thankful to God for the more than 31 years of marriage that we shared. We were blessed with love and support from both sides of our families. Love, Elsie

"A beautiful life that came to an end, he died as he lived, everyone's friend.
In our hearts a memory will always be kept, of one we loved, and will never forget."

Shona MacDonald

8 January 2021

Dearest Elsie we are so sorry for your loss. Uncle Neil’s life was complete when he married you, he became a husband , a father, and later a grandfather and great grandfather. He loved you all so much.
It is with deepest sadness that I write this tribute to you Uncle Neil. You were and continue to be so loved. Uncle Neil was humble, kind, trustworthy, accepting, supportive, loving and caring. Through the joyful times, and painful times you were there for me (us). I am extremely fortunate to have had you as my uncle. Oh my gosh we miss you. I am very grateful for the wonderful visit I had with you just before your passing. Love Shona , Tim, Sadie and Myles

Abbie DiDonato

4 January 2021

Elsie and Family, please accept our condolences as we are so sorry to hear of Neil’s passing. Neil was such a nice person and always pleasant to talk with.
Know that you are in our thoughts & prayers. RIP Neil.

Abbie & Peggi (Williamson) DiDonato

Bruce Mitchell

4 January 2021

Rest in peace Neil, you were a pleasure to work with and to know

Don Laity

4 January 2021

So sorry, Allison, for the loss of your Dad.
Keeping you and family in prayer!
Don Laity

Cristina Greco

4 January 2021

Sincere condolences from Cristina and Gianluca Greco

Diane Thomas

4 January 2021

Dear Elsie and family, our deepest sympathy in the passing of your husband Neil and loved one. The fondest memories with great respect of Neil’s gentle and quiet personality. May you find comfort during this difficult time.
Love and prayers,
Diane and Jim Thomas

Ian MacKenzie

4 January 2021

I had the pleasure of meeting Neil only once in Sault Ste Marie , he was very proud of his Hebridean upbringing, my mother was just south of Lewis in Harris. Nice gentleman wish I had known him more. From one Scot to another God Bless You Neil. Ian and Donna MacKenzie And Family



Neil John Murray was a man for whom actions would speak louder than words. His life motto might well have been “if it isn’t logical, it’s not important.” The qualities of being fair, just and the ability to recognize what was right were clearly driving forces in Neil’s life. He was also the kind of person who could respect a “do not disturb” sign, whether it was real or implied. He was analytical and observant, with an ability to be simultaneously spontaneous and keenly perceptive. Neil was modest in his actions and extremely literal in his thoughts and in the manner in which he communicated with others. When Neil said something, he meant it. All those who knew him appreciated this trademark quality.

His parents were Finlay and Jessie. Neil was raised in Barvas. Even as a small child, Neil wanted to understand what was right and what was wrong in any given situation. As Neil grew older, he realized the importance of being treated fairly, and in return, he treated everyone around him the same way. This belief in fair play served Neil well throughout his life and despite his natural shyness; he enjoyed a solid group of friends.

Since Neil sought to treat those around him with respect, he often found himself in the role of playing peacemaker within his family. He was comfortable in working through the types of sibling rivalry situations that quite often occur, because he loved the challenge of conflict resolution. He would look at the most reasonable and practical ways to settle any disputes. Neil was raised with 3. He had two younger brothers, Sandy and John and one younger sister, Mairi. Neil was constantly involved in activities with his siblings. Neil and his siblings had the typical rivalries while growing up, but they shared many life experiences.

Those who didn’t know Neil well might have thought him to be objective and somewhat emotionally detached, but family and friends who were close to him knew that he was capable of unexpected flashes of humor. Neil’s good friends tended to be “thinkers” like himself. Even though the circle of friends was somewhat small, it was a strong and loyal group, and Neil liked nothing better than to spend his free time with them. Neil was well known for always being up front and open, never hiding his true feelings, qualities that drew deep loyalty from his friends because they understood and appreciated him for the person he was. Another quality that people admired in Neil was his ability to link cause and effect and apply the appropriate connection in his assessment of any new situation. While growing up, his best friend was Ken MacDougall. His friends included his work colleagues in the electrical construction group at Algoma Steel, the guys in his golfing group.

This same loyalty and up front honesty Neil shared with his friends carried over to other aspects of his life, including his relationships with his family. On May 6, 1989, Neil exchanged wedding vows with Elsie Maki nee Frech at the St. Lukes Cathedral of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The marriage became a solid relationship, due in part to Neil’s skill at bringing fresh energy and clarity to meeting Elsie's needs. He was a great listener who enjoyed the couple’s “together” time, especially when it came to celebrating special occasions.

As the family grew, Neil was easily able to adapt to the changes and challenges of parenthood. Neil was blessed with 3 step children, one son, Scott and two daughters, Allison and Heather. They were also blessed with 6, Erich, Adam, Stephanie, Jennifer, Alex and Andrew. Neil was never impulsive in dealing with family problems. Instead, he would carefully think things through before implementing the solution in a logical and objective manner. Neil was a strong, clear communicator who excelled at eliminating confusion by making matters crystal clear to all those involved. At the same time, Neil’s inventive nature could turn some of the boring old household chores into a fun activity for the family.

In his work life, Neil was the kind of person who had no difficulty in taking on a project and seeing it through to its completion. He excelled at dealing with those pesky details that can derail some people, and once he understood exactly why he was working on a project, he could plow full steam ahead. For Neil, being able to grasp the logical components of any task was significant to him in appreciating its importance. Even if he worked alone on an assignment, Neil was able to incorporate and welcome new insights from co-workers, and he would readily use them if they improved the process. Electrician. Upon his arrival in Canada he worked briefly in Thompson Manitoba and in British Columbia. He then moved to Sault Ste Marie and worked at Algoma Steel for 22 years. Neil always made the effort to be a team player, doing what was necessary in order to get the job done.

Neil’s curious and inquisitive nature influenced his choice of leisure pursuits as well. He applied his strong concentration and analytical skills as to how things worked to his choice of activities. He particularly enjoyed the “alone” time his hobbies provided. His favorite pursuits were reading, looking after his yard/garden, golfing, attending Greyhound hockey games and snow shoveling. Neil was content to enjoy his hobbies alone but was also willing to share his interests with others.

Neil had the ability to stay calm and the determination to do what was necessary to get the job finished, traits that helped him enjoy sports. Recreational sports included golf. Neil was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed following his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were soccer, golf and hockey.

Neil appreciated the occasions when he was able to travel and get away on a vacation. He enjoyed learning about different locales and was open to exploring new and different places. Favorite vacations included trips back home to Barvas, Florida, East and West coast of Canada and a Mediteranean cruise. He thoroughly enjoyed the task of gathering and analyzing travel information as he prepared for an upcoming trip.

As his retirement approached, Neil viewed the event as just one more project to research and solve. So, when the day finally arrived in 1990, he was well prepared. Remained in Sault Ste. Marie. In retirement, he found new pleasure in caring for his yard, golfing with his friends, attending Greyhound hockey games, shoveling snow and spending tim with his grandchilder/great grandchildren.

Neil passed away on December 26, 2020 at at home with his family in Bowmanville, Ontario. He is survived by wife Elsie; his children Scott, Allison and Heather; his grandchildren Erich, Adam, Stephanie, Jennifer, Andrew and Alex, his great grandchildren Jannah, Davey, Emmett and also by his dear sister Mairi. Due to Covid 19 no service was held. Neil was cremated. His ashes are with his wife Elsie. His final resting place will be in the St. Luke's Catherdral columbarium in Sault Ste. Marie.

Neil was practical and realistic but was able to be flexible when the need arose. He had a curiosity about the things around him and tried to experience life directly rather than sit back and talk about it. The experiences he treasured most were those he shared with his loved ones. Neil John Murray will be greatly missed.