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Dr. Murray Morris Neilson


Dr. Murray Morris Neilson Dr. Murray Morris Neilson

The family of Murray Neilson wish to announce his passing on Monday January 28, 2019. Murray was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Aug. 21, 1930. He lived in many Canadian cities before coming to UNB in 1949 and spent most of his adult life in Fredericton.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years Heather (Whyte), his daughter Linda (Tony Rhinelander) Traceyville, his daughter Jennifer (Brian Scott) Amhertsburg, Ont. and his son Eric (Tri Ningsih) Victoria, BC;  six grandchildren Jason Rhinelander, Lila Rhinelander (Kyle Lennie), Leta Scott (Jason Marchand) Michael Scott (Elizabeth) , Alexander Neilson and Allianna Neilson; also 6 great grandchildren; his sister Patricia Niblett and her family of Nova Scotia; his sister in law Valerie Whyte (Kerry Babcock), Fredericton; his nieces Olivia and Lauren Babcock; the mother of his daughters Betty Ponder. He was predeceased by a son Gregory.

Murray graduated from UNB in 1953 with a Bachelor of Forestry. He received the city of Fredericton Gold Medal for highest standing in the Forestry class. While at UNB he was on two varsity teams: boxing and cross country. He participated in many intramural sports. Murray went on to the University of Minnesota for his Master’s degree as well as his PHD in insect pathology. He is the author of many research publications about insect pathology and attended and presented at many conferences in the world. The focus of his research was spruce bud worm in eastern Canada. , Dr. Neilson started as a research officer with the Maritime Forest Research Centre. (MFRC). He then became a program manager and in 1977 was appointed the Director General of MFRC.

In 1985 he chose to take early retirement so he could work on his property in Island View. Every tree, shrub and bush on the property was planted by Murray. His vegetable garden was huge and he produced prize winning crops and flowers. He received many ribbons at the annual Agricultural Exhibition in Fredericton for vegetables, flowers and his famous raspberry jelly. He grew gourds and made them into bird houses and other decorations for his and Heather’s home. He also made wine and beer from scratch and would grow or pick the fruits in the wild, with which he made his famous "Chateau Mur" wine. There were few days that he did not enjoy a glass of wine or two late afternoon.

Murray had many hobbies besides growing food. He loved to hunt and was a passionate fly fisherman. He spent countless hours on the Saint John River fishing for salmon. He hunted ducks, geese, partridge, deer and moose. The freezer was always full. He and Eric had many lively hunting trips to the Canaan River. He was also passionate about tying flies for fishing. He spent hours working on his masterpieces and then delighted in teaching others to tie as well as using the creations to hook salmon.

Murray was an avid and accomplished skier both downhill and cross country. He was instrumental in the establishment of Crabbe Mountain, spending countless volunteer hours cutting trees and clearing brush for both the downhill and cross country trails. The trail "Greg’s Way" is named after his son. He and his ski buddies spent many hours in the Chic Choc Mountains. Recently, his ski buddies honoured him by naming a trail after him on Bill Holland’s property in Keswick Ridge. Murray volunteered with the Crabbe Mtn ski racing club during Linda’s racing years and then for Eric. He also volunteered with the FHS Football Club while Eric played and Meals on Wheels. Another passion was sailing. Murray and Heather competed in many successful sail boat races competing in the North American 505 Championship on Lake Ontario.

Please join Heather and Family as we celebrate Murray's life on Thursday, August 1, 2019 from 4 - 6 pm at Student Union Building on the UNB campus. All are welcomed.

Heather would like to thank the many people who helped her with Murray’s care over the last number of years including, Trish Robertson, Sean Key, Sue Sansom, Al Cummings, Don Fowler, the staff at Hospice Day Program, Randy Geneau, Yvon Thibault , his children and family members, plus many other friends. A special thank you to his gifted care giver Holly Walker who was devoted to Murray for the last year and a half.

For those who wish, donations can be made to Hospice Fredericton or to the Murray/Heather Neilson Scholarship at UNB, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.
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Celebration of Murray's Life on Thursday, August 1, 2019
Visitation Time
4 - 6 pm
Visitation Location
Student Union Buliding at UNB Campus, 21 Pacey Drive, Fredericton

Requested Charity
Hospice Fredericton, the Murray/Heather Neilson Scholarship at UNB, or donor's choice