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Neil Swann

Neil Francis Swann

Wednesday, August 14th, 1929 - Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
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Obituary

Neil Francis Swann died in his 92nd year, at Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in Orillia on September 29, in Jan’s arms . Dearly Beloved husband of Janet( nee Toppin ), loving Father of Hal, David ( Claudia), Peter (Deborah) and Jean ( Guy) . Dear Grandfather of Levi, Liam, Nigel and Nelson. Brother of the late Ian and Barbara. Survived by his sister Carol, of Phoenix, Arizona.

Harold-O, David-O, Pierre and Miss pink, know that your Dad loved you all deeply, each of you in his own private and special way.

Neil was born in Trinidad B.W.I., the youngest child of missionary parents, the Reverend and Mrs. Harold Swann. He lived in Trinidad until the age of 15 when he came to live at Llewellyn Hall in Oshawa, a home for missionaries’ children. There he attended Oshawa Collegiate Vocational Institute, graduating from Vaughan Road Collegiate.

Upom graduation, he took a job with Canada Oil and then with Imperial Oil Shipping Company for which he plied the Great Lakes on oil tankers for three years working as deckhand, night watchman and galley cook . Feeling the need for his life to take a different direction, he decided to further his education by applying to several universities. McMaster University accepted him as a mature student and where he then went on to spend five wonderful years, graduating with a 4 year Honours Degree in Geography. While there, he enrolled in the University Naval Training Division, a move on his part which brought him great satisfaction, joy and a means by which he could put himself through Mac. He left the Naval Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant. His participation in many campus organizations and clubs are too numerous to list. I’m not quite sure what he wasn’t involved in!

Neil waited on tables in the Mac refectory for a few years before becoming “Head Waiter’, a promotion he was extremely proud of. When Neil joined Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, a member there by the name of Doug Johnson, told me how Neil had given him meal tickets on a regular basis. Doug was in need of this support and was so grateful for all that Neil had provided him.

After graduation from McMaster, Neil attended the Ontario Insitute for Studies in Education where he received his Ontario Secondary Teacher’s Cerificate. He was hired by the Ottawa Board of Education and taught at Lisgar Collegiate and Nepean Collegiate before moving to Scarborough where he became head of Geography at David and Mary Thompson, then on to conclude his 35 year teaching career at Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate. ‘Swanny’ was a highly respected teacher by both students and fellow colleagues and was a beloved football and soccer coach. He played a mean hand of bridge in the staff room too!

Retirement years were spent playing golf with Jan at Cedarhurst G.C., his cottage course, and at his cherished Whitevale G.C. He was a true blue Blue Jays fan attending games down at the Sky Dome for many years and watching televised games with Jan always at his side. Neil was also an avid curler, superior bridge palyer, golfer and avid reader of fiction, Discover Magazine and the daily newspaper.

He joined Yorkminster Park Baptist Church upon his marriage to Jan. He served a term on the Board of Finance and volunteered for many years shopping with Jan for the Out of the Cold Program. His faith was a private one but one from which he always drew strength. One afternoon this past winter he broke out into song, out of the blue, trying to sing and remember the words to SOFTLY AND TENDERLY JESUS IS CALLING.

One of Neil’s beloved happy places was at the cottage with Jan. He loved watching the waves breaking on the lake, the changing wind directions and most of all, Lake Simcoe’s glorious sunsets over Thorah and Georgina Islands. He was a weatherman extraordinaire.

He always referred to himself as a loner however his effervescent personality belied this self-regard. Neil’s positive attitude toward life brought him contentment, peace and tremendous enjoyment. He was slow to anger and had the patience of Job. His gentle and sweet personality never changed, even during the years of his dementia. Neil always looked at life from the sunny side up, never judging or criticizing anyone. He has been a role model for me, my best buddy and his ‘sweetie’ for 41 years. Farewell ‘my handsome husband’. We have loved one another dearly. Rest in peace in heaven, a place you so richly deserve to dwell in forever. You were a good man. Online condolences are welcomed at www.manganfuneralhome.com
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Private Condolence
JG

John Graham

Posted at 07:45pm
Dear Jan and Family,

I’m sad to know Neil has passed on. I hope the memories of your amazing Neil can help ease such a difficult transition for you all. Neil was a great man, a kind, considerate Gentleman who so obviously had a real zest for life with a contagious laugh to match!

I played Neil in the club championship one year when I was a teenager and I’ll never forget how he treated me with such respect and the match itself and his own game with such humour and aplomb. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed being so handily beaten at golf quite so much.

Take care, stay safe.

John Graham and Family
JS

James Schwan

Posted at 12:19pm
I have many wonderful memories of time spent with Neil & Janet both @ Cedarhurst GC and entertaining in our homes.Neil was a treat to play golf with,always a gentleman,a great sense of humour and a wonderful golfer with a great swing.As educators we had lots in common especially some memorable coaching stories and as Geography specialists.The past few years have been dificult for Neil and particularly for Janet as primary caregiver.I will miss that great smile & friendly demeanour.Play well up there Neil my friend and God Bless.
S

SUsan Gill jones

Posted at 08:18am
We forget many of our teachers as time moves on, but Mr Swann has remained in my memories over the years, I was telling my husband a story of him just a few days ago and then saw of his passing,. Coincidence?? Mr Swann was my grade 11 geography teacher at Thomson C I . His enthusiasm for the subject inspired a life long love of the subject and I would have become a geography teacher but for the hiring freeze in the late 70s . I remember talking him into a 100% on a perfect mid term exam, the day he actually said a bad word but most all his sense of humour, commitment and caring for all of us. He will live on in our thoughts.
SUsan Gill
KM

Keith Mewett

Posted at 07:20am
I recounted today with the family, the many nights at the cottage I recalled eating late night bowls of corn flakes with Neil, heaped high with peaches or banana slices and a healthy spoonful of brown sugar to top it off! I also forgot the many, many cobs of corn Neil and I would fit into our “hollow leg” when more corn was cooked than mouths were there to feed it to.

I also loved the occasional times I had the pleasure of riding up to cottage or out to the golf course in the “Zed”, Neil’s prized Japanese marvel of speed that I know he loved, but not nearly as much as he loved JaJa.

We’ll miss you Neil!

Love Keith (nephew)
KM

Keith Mewett

Posted at 07:17am
I recounted today with the family, the many nights at the cottage I recalled eating late night bowls of corn flakes heaped high with peaches or banana slices and a healthy spoonful of brown sugar to top it off! I also forgot the many, many cons of corn Neil and I would fit into our “hollow leg” when more corn was cooked than mouths were there to feed it to.

I also loved the occasional time I had the pleasure of riding up to cottage or out to the golf course in the “Zed”, Neil’s prized Japanese marvel of speed that I know he loved, but nearly as much as he loved JaJa.

We’ll miss you Neil!

Love Keith (nephew)
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