Obituary of Harold Norman McNally
At 2:55 am on September 28, 2022, held close by his wife and daughter, Harold Norman McNally took his last breath at the age of 73. Harold lived his last hours in this world the way he lived his life, with love, wisdom, courage, clarity, wit, warmth, and kindness.
Harold is deeply missed by his adoring wife, Wannapa (her mother, Mali and brother, Aey), his dearly loved daughter, Bonnie (Ryan, who he loved as a son), his beloved grandchildren, Nate (Megan), Josiah (Kati), Alyssa, Rebecca, Abigail, his precious first great-grandchild Olivia Elise, and family and friends from around the world.
After his heart stopped for almost 30 minutes on Sunday, he surprised the doctors and nurses who cared for him by not only surviving the night, but by becoming fully conscious, responsive, and staying with us until early Wednesday morning. Those of us who know the power of my dad's intention, focus, and determination are not surprised.
Wannapa and I (Bonnie) were able to rub his head, hold his hands, and care for him, along with the help of the wonderful medical staff at Health Sciences North Hospital in Sudbury, Ontario. We gave him messages of love from his family and friends.
It was difficult for him to speak, but we asked questions, and he nodded or shook his head. He clearly said, "I love you", and in his last hours with us, with his irrepressible spirit, he answered, "Not bad" when his nurse asked how he was. Near the end of his life here on earth, he shook his head "no" when I offered him water and said "Diet Coke". His doctor found Diet Pepsi and brought it to him.
Harold was born to William "Bill" and Olliffe "Ollie" McNally. He was a big brother to Ruth, Ann, Mary, Pat, and Jane, growing up on the family farm where their dad was born, west of Regina, Saskatchewan.
Harold had a unique perspective and diverse experiences. He valued meaningful connection and loved to talk about his philosophy in person and on public forums. He traveled the world, even joining a commune in his search for God, meaning, and community. He held friendships from that time for the rest of his life. The 12 Step Fellowship Programs, and his many dear friends there, were part of his life for decades, and his advice there was sought by many.
Harold served as a cook in the Royal Canadian Air Force, was a DJ for CJME Radio, sold real estate, started and ran several businesses, and he was a nursing assistant in the Pasqua Hospital psychiatric unit for 11 years where his empathy and ability to be present were gifts.
His enjoyment of real estate, business, and Mercedes continued throughout his life. He bought and sold several cars and properties, moving frequently. Even in the changes, he tended a meaningful life. In recent years, he gardened and went for daily walks and drives with Wannapa, and their dog, Buddy, along the beautiful trees and lakes of Northern Ontario. In his last months, as his heart weakened, he couldn't walk far, but they would drive to a beautiful waterside park. My dad would sit in his white Mercedes and talk to me on the phone while Wannapa and Buddy walked.
My conversations with my dad held me. The only way I know this world is with him in it, and I see life through the lens of his love. We had deep talks since I was a little girl. He taught me kindness, compassion, and wonder about God, nature, and how we're all here to help each other.
I lived knowing I am deeply loved. When I was going through a painful time, he would tell me. "You know you can call me any time". If I didn't have words, he'd say, 'I'll stay on the phone as long as you want". He was unconscious the first day after his heart stopped, and until I could get there from Saskatchewan, I asked his nurse to put his phone on the pillow beside his ear. I said, "Dad, I love you. I'm here. I'll stay on the phone as long as you want".
Nate, Josiah, and Alyssa were able to travel to stay with Grandpa "Lurtle" in the home he loved in Vista, California, where they saw the ocean for the first time. Rebecca and Abigail have warm memories of his visits here. Rebecca loved how he always asked, "What's for dessert?" after supper, and walked around the house on his phone talking business. Abbi loved his voice, his jokes, and rubbing his head when he rested after eating supper together.
My dad's last days were the hardest of our lives, and they are also stories of love, beauty, grace, and answered prayers.
Our family is incredibly grateful for the dedicated and compassionate care of the doctors, nurses, and everyone who helped him in Elliot Lake and in Sudbury, for my dad's neighbour's generous help getting us to the hospital to be with my dad, and for the prayers and expressions of love and care we received, and continue to receive, from family and friends.
We're gathering to share comfort, food, and stories to celebrate Harold's life at Avonhurst Assembly, 3200 Avonhurst Drive, Regina, SK on August 10, 2023 at 2:00 pm. We kindly ask that you come scent-free due to chemical sensitivities in our family. We will have a memory box for written memories of Harold.