John 'Sonny' A. MacNeil

April 15, 1933June 5, 2021

It is with profound sadness we announce that John A MacNeil 'Sonny' 88 of Sydney passed away after a short illness on June 5th with his family by his side.

John was born in Glace Bay with roots in Big Pond. He was recently predeceased by his wife of 64 years Maurina (Bates), also predeceased by his parents Annie (MacIntyre) and John Angus MacNeil as well as 3 sisters Shirley (Reggie Bennet), Audrey (Ted Ryan) and Patricia (Reg O'Neill). He is survived by his sister Cathy Marco, Los Angeles, 5 children , Rosemarie (Thomas) Dormon, Hastings ON, Derrick (Trish) Dartmouth NS, Owen (Denise) Moncton NB, Gerald (Sandra) Dartmouth NS & Karen (Gary) Lewis , of Howie Centre NS, 12 grandchildren, Adrian Dormon, Rachel Dormon, Marie Morrison, Angela MacNeil, Amanda Rattie, Ryan MacNeil, Brandon MacNeil, Shea MacNeil, Corey MacNeil, Nicole MacNeil, Jeffery Lewis, Allyson Lewis, 15 great grandchildren, and very special friend Connie Jennings.

John was quite active throughout his life having travelled extensively throughout Europe in his early years with the Canadian Armed Forces, Air Force Division. He also spent a few years in Montreal and the Canadian Arctic working with RCA & Bell maintaining the Canadian DEW Line. He came back to the Maritimes working with IBM starting a 35 year career where he called Saint John and Fredericton home at times and eventually settling back in Sydney River in 1974. John and Maurina opened MacNeil’s variety on Kings Road and operated this store up until their move to Howie Centre in 1979. In 1989 they moved to Northside East Bay for 22 years enjoying life on the water. In 2011 they moved back to Howie Centre.

John retired from IBM in 1992 and quickly filled his time in the winter with skating and playing pool and in the summer with golf. A member of Seaview Golf Club for over 30 years he welcomed the opportunity to play with new people and made many great friends. With his electronics background he repaired many electronic caddies. In retirement an annual highlight was playing in the MacNeil Golf Classic with his 3 sons and later in years enjoying a trip south almost annually for an extra week of golf, fun and poker. He may still be counting his winnings. As well, his 2 daughters (his angels) were continuously available to pamper him at home and at their homes as often as possible where he enjoyed every minute of that.

At 88 he was still practicing his guitar and taking lessons and would think nothing of loading up new computers, texting his children or grandchildren or joining a Zoom call. In the golf "off season" he could be found at Branch 12 Royal Canadian Legion playing pool with his buddies.

He will be dearly missed as a great husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, friend, coach and mentor to many.

Donations may be directed to Alzheimer’s Society, Canadian Cancer Society or a charity of one’s own choice.

Grief is like an ocean, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim. In life, we loved you dearly, in death we love you still. In our hearts you hold a place, no one else will ever fill. Rest in peace Dad.

Due to Covid 19 restrictions there will be no visitation or funeral. Cremation has taken place. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Memories and condolences may be forwarded to the family by visiting


  • Maurina (Bates), Wife (deceased)
  • parents Annie (MacIntyre) & John Angus MacNeil, Parents (deceased)
  • Shirley Bennet (Reggie), Sister (deceased)
  • Audrey Ryan (Ted), Sister (deceased)
  • Patricia O'Neill (Reg), Sister (deceased)
  • Cathy Marco, Sister
  • Rosemarie Dormon (Thomas), Daughter
  • Derrick (Trish), Son
  • Owen (Denise), Son
  • Gerald (Sandra), Son
  • Karen Lewis (Gary), Daughter
  • Adrian Dormon, Grandchild
  • Rachel Dormon, Grandchild
  • Marie Morrison, Grandchild
  • Angela MacNeil, Grandchild
  • Amanda Rattie, Grandchild
  • Ryan MacNeil, Grandchild
  • Brandon MacNeil, Grandchild
  • Shea MacNeil, Grandchild
  • Corey MacNeil, Grandchild
  • Nicole MacNeil, Grandchild
  • Jeffery Lewis, Grandchild
  • Allyson Lewis, Grandchild
  • Connie Jennings, Friend
  • John also leaves behind 15 great grandchildren.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


John 'Sonny' A. MacNeil

have a memory or condolence to add?

Glenda Landry

June 8, 2021

John was such a nice man.True gentleman. My sincere condolences going to all his family. Glenda landry & Ernie Lusk

Lisa And Jeremy

June 8, 2021

Thinking of you, Karen, Gary and Allison and sending you all love, light and hugs from Jasper.

Scott & Elizabeth Gillis

June 7, 2021

Our condolences to the entire MacNeil Family. John was a first class guy with a great zest for life !

Take care at this difficult time

Scott and Elizabeth Gillis
Rothesay NB

Ruth MacNeil

June 7, 2021

I would like to offer my condolences to the family of John MacNeil. Ruth MacNeil Big Pond

Sandra Lewis

June 7, 2021

Karen, so sorry to hear of the loss of your father so soon after your mom's death. I know you will have many fond memories. My very deepest sympathy to you and your family.
Sandra Lewis

Debra MacPherson

June 7, 2021

To Karen and family so sorry to read of your dad’s death so soon after your mom. Prior to COVID I often seen your dad walking at Membertou he never seemed to change . May all your wonderful memories bring you peace and strength at this difficult time.
Sincere Sympathy
Debra MacPherson

Janet MacDonald

June 7, 2021

I am so very sorry for your loss Karen; please accept my sincerest condolences to you and your family on the loss of your father; may he rest in peace.

josephine mac neil Big Pomd

June 7, 2021

Sorry I have made a mistake, it was Sonny's father who was first cousin to my dad, whose name also was John A. Mac Neil, and he would have been ist cousin not Sonny.

josephine mac neil, big pond

June 7, 2021

So sorry to read this today as it was such a short time since Marina died. My father and he would be first cousins. Again I am so sorry to all family and friends for your loss. RIP Sonny.

Mary and Joe Matheson

June 7, 2021

To Sonny's family our deepest sympathy, Sonny and I go way back to our early days in Glace Bay ending with skating sessions at the Coxheath arena. He was always a great person to meet and to talk of the old days in the "Bay". Rest in peace Sonny.