Hugh was born August 24, 1922 to Harold and Agnes Neave in Macklin Saskatchewan, and lived on the Eye Hill Creek, in Evesham. Hugh was never given a middle name, because his parents didn’t think he would live that long. (he sure fooled them!) Hugh always had a special love for his old home town. Hugh was born a Quaker, lived most of his life as an Anglican, but was always a Christian….and his faith was very important to him.
As a young man, Hugh, Peter and their sister Ruth contacted Typhoid Fever and were real sick. They spent a lot of time in the Macklin Hospital, where Ruth succumbed to the fever.
In 1941 after getting depressioned out, dried out, and grasshoppered out, the family packed up and moved to Ootsa Lake to take over a trading post. The trading post deal fell through, and after staying with the VanTines for an extended time they decided to head back to Saskatchewan. While crossing the lake they heard from the Captain on the ferry about the Farmers Institute store on the north side and that the institute was looking at getting out of the store business. The family purchased the business and stayed at Francois Lake.
Hugh met the youngest daughter of John and Alice Keefe who were one of the south side first settlers and married Josephine Marie on September 10, 1949.
Hugh and Jo had two sons and two daughters, Richard, Marie, Mark and Kathy. The house they lived in was the large frame house with a wide veranda that was built in 1920, it was perched on the hill above the ferry landing and was always filled with friends and family.
Hugh ran a taxi service from 1947 to 1965 between Ootsa, Burns, and Tahtsa Lake. Hugh had many stories of special trips, with the longest trip being to Kamloops. He even delivered a baby!
Hugh also worked in the store with his folks until he and Jo took the business over. He delivered groceries to elder neighbours and others who couldn’t drive. He delivered to Colleymount, Tchesinkut Lake, Brown Road and East Francois.
After Neil Kelley stepped down as community spokesperson Hugh took over as m/c for many local events such as Christmas Concerts, May Days, etc. Bobby Saul nicknamed Hugh “The Mayor of Francois Lake”, but Mom called him “Major Hoople”!
Hugh was a member of the Choir, Community Development Association, Chamber of Commerce, Local Church Board, Tax Assessment Review Board, Saddle Club, Farmers Institute, Fall Fair, Legion, Sons of Norway (for Jo) and many others.
By example, Hugh was a teacher, mentor and coach. He taught etiquette, respect and how to be a gentleman to many.
Hugh was a cowboy, horse trader, horse trainer and loved all animals. He enjoyed his quite time doing barn chores, even milking the cow. Hugh hayed up into the late sixty’s still using a team of horses, which was a thrill for the “resort kids” who spent their summers at Francois Lake. Hugh’s brother Peter always said that Hugh might not remember someone’s name, but he would remember the name, the colour of their horse and if it was a good or not!
Memories of our Dad; cooking school day breakfasts which sometimes included fried kippers, telling us wonderful stories at bed time, and just being a good Dad.
Memories of our Grandpa are traveling to each home on Sunday morning to read bible stories and sing songs. Reading the Christmas story every year, every family meal started with Grandpas Grace and everyone in the family has to have “grandpas cheese” on their hamburgers!
Grandpa had the ability to make each and every child feel that they were special.
Hugh always had a great appreciation for woman, horses and food! Every meal was the “best that he ever had”, and his favorite was always the dessert….
Hugh loved his music. He played piano, banjo, violin, harmonica but his favorite was his guitar. Hugh played in a couple of bands, jam sessions and talent shows and most recently with his buddies in Lone Spur. His niece Renay of the June Bugs put one of his poems to music and it was recorded.
Hugh also had a love for poetry; He enjoyed writing and reciting his own as well as many classics…including his favorite…the Legend of Sam Magee.
Hugh really enjoyed writing for the newspaper with news from the community and in the latter years reminiscing about days gone by. He always said at the end of his articles….”God loves you and so do I” and he meant it.
Hugh was quite a traveler, he traveled in parts of the US, to Holland, Ireland, England, Germany, Denmark and France- he didn’t think the French were very friendly, but then, his heart was in Saskatchewan.
Jo passed away in February 2010….taking a big piece of Hughs heart with her. He put in some time at the Tweedsmuir House as well as the Pines, and now to everyones relief is finally at home with Jo again.
Hugh hated to say goodbye… when his family were leaving he always said Vaya con dios (go with God). So, as a last message from Hugh to you all…. Vaya con dios my friends.