John J. Neville, age 91, of Wilmington, died peacefully on October 21, 2015, at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. John was the beloved husband of Eileen (Quirke) Neville and the late Eleanor (Karish) Neville, devoted father of J. Christopher Neville & his wife Carol of Wilmington, Mark Neville & his wife Deb of Mashpee, Lauren Desforge & her husband Peter of Westford, Brian Neville & his wife Donna of Haverhill, Keith Neville & his wife Tina of Pittsfield, Gary Neville & his wife Lynn of Wilmington, and Jeanne Mieszczanski & her husband Chris of Chelmsford. Loving “Grandpa” of Shaun & Mary Beth Neville, Scott & Alex Neville, Katie Neville, Kevin & Jenn Neville, Eric & Kate Neville, Ryan & Carla Neville, Juliane Desforge, Mathew Desforge, Nicole Neville, Alex Neville, Elena Mieszczanski, John Mieszczanski, and James Mieszczanski, and great-grandchildren Liam, Owen, Benjamin, Bradley, Michael, Andrew, and Nora. Cherished son of the late Francis A. and Mary (Garde) Neville and the last of 12 siblings. John was the brother-in-law of Edward Karish, Robert & Clare Karish, and Mary Remmert and is further survived by many nieces and nephews.
John was a simple person who always found a way to stay busy in the yard, the garage or the “furnace room”. Even as his health declined, he continued to do much more around the house than a typical 90-year old. His work ethic was a product of his upbringing in Saugus where everyone was expected to carry their share of the responsibilities around the house.
After High School, he enlisted in the US ARMY where he was stationed in Germany at the end of World War II. Following the war he went to work at the General Electric Plant in Lynn as a tool and die maker. Soon thereafter, he went to a dance where he met his first wife Eleanor and they married and lived in Winthrop where they began to raise their first two sons. The small family moved to Wilmington in 1954 where they settled for many years, raising seven children in a small ranch house prior to Eleanor’s passing in 1975.
In 1952, John and Eleanor bought a small piece of Lakefront property on Bow Lake in Strafford NH. Using recycled wooden packing crates from the GE, used doors and windows and rolls of tarpaper, they began constructing what was to become the summer vacation spot that is now providing relaxation and enjoyment for its fourth generation of Neville’s. It was his second proudest accomplishment
In 1977, John went to another dance and met Eileen, a single Lexington school teacher who had a similar love of dancing. They were married barely a year later and Eileen became a nurturing stepmother and role model for the six children still living at home.
Upon his retirement in 1986, John and Eileen began vacationing across the country exploring places that he had never had an opportunity to experience. By the 1990’s they began spending parts of the winter in Longboat Key, FL, and then soon purchased a home at Bay Indies in Venice, FL where they spent many enjoyable winters together. He loved to jokingly “brag” about his three properties in Wilmington, Florida, and Bow Lake.
Regardless of where they were, John and Eileen always took advantage of the opportunity to dance, either with the Wilmington Dance Club, at the Venice VFW, or any dance floor within 30 miles of where they were staying. He loved weddings and the opportunity to enjoy his formal waltzes, fox trots and swing dances, taking up the entire dance floor with extravagant precision.
John’s humble demeanor, left leaning political philosophy, and notoriously frugal spending habits could never overshadow the pride he felt in his family of seven children, 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, for all of whom he had a special memory or connection. He never played favorites and engaged each child, grandchild or great-grandchild as their own individual. They were undoubtedly his proudest accomplishment. His genuine love and warmth for his family will be truly missed.
Family & friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Saturday, October 24th at 11:00 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian burial in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 12:00 noon. Interment to follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Friday, October 23rd from 4:00-8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations in John’s memory may be made to the Cath Lab Research Fund at Mass General Hospital, c/o Development Office, 125 Nashua St. Suite 540, Boston, MA 02114 or to the Bow Lake Camp Owners Association, P. O. Box 227, Strafford, NH 03884.