William “Preston” Neals – My Father, My Hero, My Friend: My Dad, a friend to everyone he knew, entered into rest at his home at Extendicare Kawartha Lakes on Friday, April 12, 2019, surrounded by love. Preston, in his 99th year has joined his loving wife of 70 years, Aileen Neals (nee Cummiskey) predeceased just seven short months ago. Reunited to rest in peace, together, forever. He was the beloved son of Harry Edwin Neals and Elva Pearl Preston both born in Manvers Township (Durham) Victoria County. Dear brother of Bernard (Christella Rowan) both predeceased. Not just a gentleman but a gentle man, Preston was my dear and loving father, me being, Linda Johnson (Larry), my brother, the late Douglas (Lynn). Poppa was the cherished grandfather of Beau Johnson, his only grandson, Alicia Cooper (Mike), Lesley Neals and Laura Downey (Clarke). He was the much loved great-grandfather (Poppa) of Prizm, Gabriel and Khaya Johnson, Makena and Maisie Cooper and Clive, Fox and Tula Downey, an uncle and great-uncle. Preston will be dearly missed by his long-time friend, Murray Henderson of Havelock who has considered dad a father-figure since childhood. Each year on Father’s Day, Murray has called dad to reinforce that honour. Dad’s work in the early years included working on the home farm, the running of a threshing and saw mill business and helping his dad who owned the Pontypool Grain Elevator, along with, brother Bernard. Dad had become a Class A Mechanic and when Doug and I were young he owned and operated the BA Gas Bar and Neals’ Service Station in Bethany (now the Coach’s Diner and Pizzeria). (The little house beside, was his and mom’s marital home where dad added the second floor.) It was around that time when Murray used to visit my Dad at the garage, his wagon in tow, so dad could help him with “repairs”. Murray has told me it did not matter what job dad was into when he arrived, that he would stop what he was doing to help Murray cross the road (now busy 7A Hwy) so that the visit and repairs could begin. In the early '60s dad closed the Service Station in Bethany and opened up in Peterborough. After about a year he accepted a position at Walkwood Ltd. in Lindsay as their machinist where he remained until his retirement in 1985. But retired, he was not. Being a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, his family meant everything to him. He was supportive and kind to all of us and still found time to entertain with Mom, nurture their mutual friendships as well as their incredible marriage. Dad played trombone in the Bethany Marching Band, was a Church Elder throughout the years and built a two-story addition onto the family home in Lindsay with Larry’s eager help. Larry attributes my dad’s patience and top-quality workmanship to have been, his inspiration. However, his biggest creative successes and in my estimation, that which gave him his own greatest fulfilment, was to totally and meticulously restore a 1927 Willys-Overland Whippet and a 1951 Chevrolet DeLuxe. (Of course there were a few cars for Doug squeezed in there too that he and Doug worked on together.) Once completed, many car shows and tours were attended; Dad driving the Whippet and Mom driving the Chevy. In total, sixty-four trophies were won and they had a great time together. And at the end of a day when he put his feet up he had a dictionary and an encyclopedia within easy reach and a cross word puzzle always on the go. An intelligent man who was always thirsting for knowledge.
A Memorial Visitation will take place on Tuesday, May 7th from 10:30a.m. until time of graveside service at St. Mary’s Cemetery Lifford at 11:00a.m.
Preston has faced the ravages of aging head-on over the last couple of years with determination and courage; a great example to all of us and a man that I am proud to call my Dad. In lieu of flowers, Linda and the family would appreciate donations, if, you wish to do so, in Preston’s name to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Profound thanks to Dr. Peter Anderson, Nurse Practitioner Sarah Reynolds and ALL the kind, skilled and dedicated Nurses, PSWs and staff at Extendicare Kawartha Lakes. We are indebted to you. Debbie Wooldridge RPN, for the best foot-care available that you unfailingly provided to my dad and to my mom over these past years. They loved you to pieces. I remember and thank past family practitioner, Dr. Sarel Vorster and the nurses, Elizabeth Fagan and Laura Devine for their frequent visits and tender care. A very special thank you to Adrienne West and Erica McWilliam of Adelaide Place; dad was so happy when he resided there with you and your team. And Murray, for your faithfulness to dad over the years and for your kindness in visiting him even when it became difficult, right up to the end.