The man behind The Island, what became Cape Breton’s unofficial anthem, has passed away. Kenzie MacNeil’s passing was confirmed on Facebook by a family member.
Another feather in MacNeil’s cap was the satirical sketch revue, The Rise and Follies of Cape Breton Island which ran from 1978 until 1982. The revue featured songs that were inspired by the coal and steel industries.
He was the youngest of seven children to the late John Angus MacNeil of Gillis Point and the late Anastasia Borden of Donkin.
MacNeil attended St. Francis Xavier University where he received his Bachelor of Arts. Both of his parents were teachers and his father was a long time field worker with Dr. Moses Coady. MacNeil completed higher education at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland in Africa.
He ran a small business as Editor and Publisher of The Cape Bretoner Newsmagazine which kept up on issues affecting Cape Bretoners.
He served a term as Chairman of the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation and went onto work as a development officer with the Nova Scotia Department of Economic Development. He ran in three federal elections, two times for the Conservative Party and once as an Independent.
Kenzie was married to Lauren Crabtree of Ottawa and East Margaree and had four daughters. Caitriana, Christie, Mary and Anna.