Paulette Jean McNeal

Paulette Jean McNeal

Paulette Jean (Riches) McNeal of East Africa and Canada, beloved wife of Robert G. McNeal, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, July 27th at 6:50 pm in Calgary, Alberta, surrounded by family – both present and online, in the compassionate care of the staff at Rosedale Hospice.

Her crazy bunch (family) anticipate the day they can be joyfully reunited: her loving husband Bob with their children and grandchildren;

G. Stryker and Marilyn Ostafew – Stryker, Nicholas & Kaitlin, Maria,

Shahndi and Brian Rotter – Joshua, Micah, Ezekiel,

Clancey and GeoLin McNeal – Riley & Cecile, Bailey, Keiran, Caedon, Teagan, Adyson,

Keeley and Mike Baril.

She is also survived by her big sisters Marie and her husband Alec Bauder, Louise Rees, and many nieces and nephews along with their families.

Paulette was blessed to be called Mom by many, both young and old, in Canada, Kenya, U.S., Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Sudan.

Paulette’s life of adventure began in Leamington Ontario on February 6th, 1946, and shortly took her to Oliver, BC (spending part of the train ride on a soldier’s knee, as the story goes). She had many volumes of adventures ranging from a plane crash in the North West Territories, teaching in Inuvik, life in Osoyoos and Clearwater, to meeting Bob, the love of her life, and briefly settling down in Cranbrook. Her story took a dramatic turn in 1978 when she met Jesus. This started a whole new chapter for her and Bob leading them to Mexico, Lima, and Taranganya where she found her calling and life purpose sharing her faith and teaching any and all who needed it.

Paulette’s greatest pleasure was teaching, among others, her Family Life and English courses in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. She was always willing to give a tea, a soda, some first aid, a conversation, advice, or helpful counsel to anyone in need – or to shoo away a stray cow, or step in with authority to aid in times of crisis. Like when Bob invited 2,500 surprise guests for dinner and she found a way to make it work. If you were one of the many who were blessed to know her, you understand how, in Bob’s words,  “life with Paulette was never boring!”

Through this whole adventure, she was always up to her jokes, collecting dried lizards to send to friends (adorned with rhinestones of course), creating drawings to illustrate life, and keeping us all laughing. Her art has always given us insight into her perspective of life and nature, her unique style and expression always made us laugh, but never louder or harder than she did. She was always the first to laugh at her own jokes and punchlines, and never missed a beat when we didn’t get the joke.

Her poetry and art also brought her visions and conversations with God to life and allowed us all to learn more about His love and to consider truths we would have never otherwise known. 

There are so many more stories, jokes, memories, and details than we could ever write. There are many friends who are as close as family, spiritual children and countless lives she has touched that join us in missing and remembering her. Those of you that knew Paulette know that this has left out much of her story; but we hope it has brought to mind some fond memories to cherish. Please remember the laughter, the tears, the lessons and learnings we all shared with her. We, her family, are always ready to talk and remember stories about her so feel free to call or write.

To remember Paulette, in lieu of flowers, you may contribute to her and Bob’s ongoing life work in Kenya, or you may bless those who blessed her at the Rosedale Hospice. Due to current situations we are hoping to hold a memorial at a time and place that will be more accommodating.

Ongoing work in Kenya – (Canada Helps)[] – select Bob & Paulette McNeal

Rosedale Hospice – (Rosedale Hospice)[]