John (Johnny) was born to Clara Innocent Neale (née Dew) and Arthur (Charlie) Hall Neale in Kingston, Jamaica, on October 17, 1943. He grew up in Jamaica and went on to complete his dental training at Loyola University in New Orleans. After dental school, he returned to his home in Jamaica and worked in various clinics across the countryside, often driving to rural areas to help treat the poorer residents. He set up his very first practice in rural Jamaica, an area so impoverished that he was sometimes paid in chickens and yams. And as Johnny always did, he accepted it with good grace and, likely, a hearty chuckle.
After marrying Lorraine, Johnny and his bride later moved to Canada in 1976 and settled in Edmonton with their two young twin daughters, Anna and Meredith. Later on, Johnny’s parents, Clara and Charlie joined them in Canada and his son, Matthew was born. Johnny and his family made a home and a life in Edmonton as he continued working as a dentist, well-known for his kind, compassionate and soft nature. Johnny truly was a gentle giant, beloved by all who had the privilege of knowing him. He lit up a room wherever he went; his big, belly laughs could be heard from far away; his broad smile a beacon to those around him. He was a quiet man to those he didn’t know well, but those who were close to him knew his mischievous streak and the twinkle in his eye. He was an extraordinary man; unassuming, kind, and generous to a fault. He was the first to offer help when needed. He loved to laugh and paint and was a prolific napper. He had an incurable sweet tooth, despite his profession. He was very creative and loved to paint in his spare time.
Following a long struggle with a neurological disease, Johnny left this earth, peacefully, in his sleep on Sunday, August 16, 2020. Johnny is predeceased by his parents and several aunts and uncles. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 49 years, Lorraine; children Anna, Meredith and Matthew; daughter-in-law Zulema; grandchildren Gabriela and Mateo; sister Christine and her partner Tony; nephews Martin and Adam Bowden; sister Liana and daughters, and Johnny’s nieces, Lainie and Alicia; sisters-in-law Donna and Tina (Chris); brothers-in-law Tommy (Leonie) and Peter (Annette); and many more nieces and nephews who loved their uncle deeply. Johnny was a quiet and humble but fiercely loving and protective, father, husband, brother, grandfather, uncle, nephew, friend, and colleague. His absence is acutely felt by those who knew and loved him. He will be missed immensely.
Due to health directives, a private family service commemorating Johnny’s life will be held on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 11:00 am. You are invited to join the family in virtual attendance by visiting the following link: https://distantlink.com/SerenityES.html.
Johnny’s family wishes to also acknowledge the compassionate staff of the Rosewood wing and to thank them and all others who cared so lovingly for Johnny at St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Care Centre in Edmonton.
In lieu of flowers, Johnny’s family encourages mourners to donate to a charity of their choice.