John S. MacNeill, Jr.
John S. MacNeill Jr. passed away on January 19, 2010, at Cortland Regional Medical Center, Cortland, New York, just five days short of his 83rd birthday. During his last years, he persevered through increasing complications of diabetes.
John was born on January 24, 1927, in Weehawken, New Jersey, the son of John S. MacNeill Sr. and Margaret Stalee MacNeill. After attending a number of different schools growing up, he graduated from Homer Academy, Homer, New York, in 1944. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 and served his tour of duty during the remaining months of World War II in the Pacific theater. Following the war, he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Cornell University in 1950 and married “the girl next door,” Elizabeth “Betty” Hazzard.
After living and working in several locations throughout New York State, John and his growing family settled in Homer, New York. He then started his own civil engineering and surveying firm and subsequently joined a number of professional organizations. Participation in Cortland Rotary Club led to many rewarding years working with international exchange students, who knew him affectionately as “Papa John.” He and his wife, Betty, traveled all around the world visiting former exchange students and their families. John was proud of his Scottish heritage and took pleasure in being the drum major for the Mohawk Valley Frasers Bagpipe Band for many years, along with his wife Betty (tenor drum), son Allen (announcer), daughters Billie Jean (snare drum) and Claudia (tenor drum), and grandchildren (Aurora, Conall, and Adam MacNeill, highland dancers).
John is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Elizabeth Hazzard MacNeill, their son, Allen (Leah) MacNeill of Ithaca, NY; their daughters, Billie MacNeill of Homer, and Claudia (Jerome) Caretti of Morrisville, NY; a brother, Robert (Sue) MacNeill of Walton, NY; a sister-in-law, Joyce MacNeill of Homer; ten grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a brother, Arthur MacNeill, of Homer.
Contributions in John MacNeill’s memory may be made to the Cortland Rotary Club, P.O. Box 5248, Cortland, NY 13045, or the charity of one’s choice. Email to: CNY MacNeills