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David Gerard Macneil


David Gerard Macneil

David Gerard Macneil

Born March 3. 1944 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, the son of Dr. William (Bill) Macneil and Hilda (Judy) MacDonald, he was the eldest of three children. He married Hughena Kennedy on May 3, 1969. He died November 29, 2018 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, having developed his first symptoms of cancer only two months before.

He is survived by his wife Hughena, son Leo (Kitty) of Fredericton, son Hugh of Ottawa, Ontario, daughter Catherine (Simon) and their children Anna, Benjamin, and Samuel of Calgary, Alberta, and son Iain of Fredericton; sister Brenda (Barry Keeler), and brother Bill Macneil (Shelley) of Halifax, Nova Scotia; brother-in-law Ranald Kennedy (Penny) and sister-in-law Christena Kendziora (Lloyd).

Predeceased by his parents William and Judy and beloved aunt and uncle Leo and Stella MacKinnon.

David grew up in Halifax and attended St. Patrick High School there. He moved on to St. Francis Xavier University, 1960-1963 (Dip.Eng.) and then Nova Scotia Technical College (now Dalhousie University), 1963-1967 (B.Eng. (Honours), M.Eng.).

When he enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Electrical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, he also took on student leadership roles as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Student Union Building and served as the first student representative on the UNB Senate.

He became the Director of Computing Services in 1979 and moved through UNB’s academic ranks to accept an appointment as Professor of Computer Science in 1982.During a sabbatical at Stanford University in 1977-78, he was in the thick of the development of modern networked computing. He championed computing and network connectivity for UNB, New Brunswick, throughout Canada, and the world. UNB was thus one of the first institutions in the country connected to the Internet and the very first to offer free email accounts to its students.

In his 21-year tenure as Director of Computing Services, he became internationally recognized as an internet pioneer. He repeatedly negotiated consensuses that paved the way to connect our communities via computer networks. He was a founding member of NetNorth, CANARIE, and the NATO Science Committee Computer Networks Panel.

David retired in 2006. He was awarded Professor Emeritus in Computer Science May 19, 2011. He would continue his relationship with the university through his membership in the UNB Retired Employees Association (recently as President), and was proud of the History of Computing at UNB project, archiving a legacy.

He and his wife Hughena celebrated the 50th anniversary of their first date on the first day of spring this year. Throughout a successful career, his family remained his priority.  As an amateur genealogist, he celebrated growth to his family tree, both lateral and vertical. He loved the physics of photography and the technical aspects of developing. His treasured slide shows, entitled "This is Your Life", were tweaked every year and presented on each child’s birthday.

He was a founder and also president of Preschool Center Inc., a local day-care still in operation. He greatly enjoyed his many years on the Stan Cassidy Center for Rehabilitation Foundation board.

A passionate sailor, he was a long-time member of the Fredericton Yacht Club and served as its Commodore. He enjoyed sailing with family and friends – cruising on Grand Lake, the Mactaquac head pond, down the East coast, and among the British Virgin Islands. Though racing was a pleasure win or lose, he was intensely competitive. He prepared diligently, analyzed his performances thoroughly, and was generous in sharing what he learned through a lifetime of sailing. He and his crew won the "Sunset Race", the last race of the year, in exciting and blustery conditions on September 22, 2018.

Heartfelt thanks to his friends and colleagues over the years. Special thanks to those who came to visit with him and wrote their good wishes during his final days. These visits and notes greatly enlivened his spirits.

David and his family wanted to share his profound gratitude to Dr. Kristina Kemp at the Moncton Hospital. Special thanks also to his dedicated family doctor, Dr. Kathleen Woods. The conscientious work of DECH hospitalist Dr. Kelsey Cameron and the palliative medicine team were deeply appreciated. The compassionate and attentive care of Nurses Kim, Apryl, Krista, and Vicky of the Palliative Care Unit as well as the nurses from 4SE will be remembered.

Thanks to Father Monte Peters, Father John Jennings, and Father Bill Brennan for their spiritual care of us all.

Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, December 3, 2018 at 12:05 at St. Dunstan's Catholic Church, the Feast day of St Francis Xavier. A reception will follow at the Monsignor Boyd Family Centre, interment will be at a later date.

David valued education and the future. Honoring this, donations in his memory may be made to the David and Hughena Macneil Scholarship fund administered by UNB Fredericton or a charity of your choice.
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Service Date
Monday, December 3, 2018