Longtime Bowen resident, Suzanne McNeil, passed away at Lions Gate Hospital, Sunday, July 2, just weeks before her 74th birthday. She lived privately and quietly, so it is unlikely she was known to many. Those who knew her at her best will remember conversations where memories of Bowen ranged across decades, and the stories she could tell always included some anecdote that filled in another piece of the Bowen saga.
She was one of the last Davies Orchard residents, having lived in her pink cottage for 15 years until compelled to move from her much loved home. Other places she lived and loved were the farmhouse at Collins Farm and her tucked away cottage in Deep Bay. Suzanne grew up in a small country house in Nova Scotia, and clearly cherished this aesthetic of simple and cozy residences. Like many on Bowen, she sought stability in housing and was certainly troubled during times when that security was threatened.
She lived humbly but her tastes were refined. She chose carefully and valued objects not only for their beauty and the pleasure they brought her, but also for their history and place in people’s lives. Her dearest companions were her cats, which she tended with delight and loving care. In recent years, the sole recipient of her attention was Bobby, a dear soul, who happily has been adopted into another loving home.
Suzanne lived with numerous health challenges, which made it difficult for her to maintain active relationships, so she spent a lot of time alone. Fortunately, during last months in her life, she was well attended by homecare workers and nurses, and helped by friends to meet medical appointments in town. And perhaps most fortunately, up to her final days, she remained on Bowen Island, a place she never wanted to leave.
Rest in peace, Suzanne.
A memorial for Suzanne McNeil will be held Saturday August 3 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Bowen Island United Church. All are most welcome to join to honour and remember Suzanne. Please bring a small plate of cookies or fruit to share at the gathering in Collins Hall after the service.