Ernest Malcolm McNeill, of Ashlar Village in Wallingford CT, formerly of Eastham MA and Manchester CT, passed away October 12, 2020, at Masonicare Health Center with family by his side. He was the devoted husband of the late Vyrling A. McNeill (Phelps) for 68 years. Ernie was born on July 19, 1922 in Manchester CT, to the late Robert and Rachel (Smith) McNeill.
He graduated from Manchester High School, class of 1940. Ernie worked at Pratt and Whitney for 2 years, but at 19 years old as World War II broke out, he enlisted in the Marine Corps because he was “looking for adventure.” His love of airplanes and dedication to the Marines Corps were shaped as he served as a gunner in SBD planes in the South Pacific.
After the war he returned to Manchester. Looking to work outdoors, he secured a job with Southern New England Telephone as a lineman. He worked his way up at SNET, and retired as a teletype communication supervisor in July 1982.
Ernie married Vyrling in 1948 and they raised their family in Manchester. He was a hard-working and dedicated family man. Ernie always found time for family fun, especially outdoor activities like hiking, skating, swimming and his favorite-a day at the beach. Many vacations and weekends were spent on the beaches of Rhode Island and Cape Cod.
Ernie and Vyrling moved to Eastham on the Cape after retirement and fulfilled the dream of life near the beach. A strong advocate for those with special needs, he volunteered his time to Special Olympics and to a local bowling league for adults with intellectual disabilities. He returned to CT in 2018 to be near family.
Ernie is survived by his three children; daughter, Cindy Balsamo (Fred) of Wallingford, son Ernest McNeill Jr. (Noelle Cass) of Avon, son Scott McNeill (Charlanne Dubay) of Granby; four grandchildren, grandson Vin Balsamo (Christina) of Prospect, grandson Nick Balsamo (Kristen) of Guilford, granddaughter Lizzie McNeill and grandson Mike McNeill, both of Avon and his adoring great-grandchildren; Joey and Jakie Balsamo of Prospect, and Max and Maggie Balsamo of Guilford; sister and brother-in-law, Mildred and Ed Berggren of Manchester and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his beloved son Robert McNeill, sisters and brothers-in-law Mary Suhie (Michael), Bertha Balmer (Arthur), Florence Hilinski (Walter), Gladys Wolfram (Ernest), and brother George McNeill, nephew Noel, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law Jasper and Irene Phelps.
The family would like to thank the nurses and staff at Pond Ridge at Ashlar Village for their care, kindness and tireless dedication to our dad and others especially during these challenging times. A special shout-out to Amy Foreman, who was always there for us in so many ways.
We would also like to thank the nurses and staff at Midstate Hospital and Masonicare Health Center for their kindness and help recently.
Ernie’s family will receive family and friends on Friday October 16, 2020 from 10:00 to11:00am at Holmes-Watkins Funeral Home, 400 Main Street, Manchester, CT. A Graveside Service will follow at 11:30 AM at East Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Cape Abilities, 895 Mary Dunn Rd., Hyannis MA. www.capeabilities.org.
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