Byron Neil Good was born on July 19, 1929 at the old sandstone hospital in Didsbury, a cherished child and second son for Samuel and Freda Good. Neil grew up on the family farm 12 miles south west of Carstairs, and loved working with the farm animals his parents raised. He attended the West Hope country school where he excelled as a student and sportsman who loved reading and geography, hockey and baseball, and skipped at least one grade as he went along. At the early age of nine, Neil’s childhood and the lives of the rest of his family were abruptly altered when his father suddenly passed away. Though his mother was left to run a farm and raise four young children while chronically ill with kidney disease, he and his three siblings were blessed with a close and loving extended family in their Grandpa and Grandma Taylor and the Steckly clan, along with many other relatives, friends and neighbours.
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After completing grade 9 at West Hope, Neil boarded in Didsbury in order to attend Grade 10 in the old brick school that is now the town museum. For a second time Neil’s life was painfully altered when WWII and finances intervened and prevented him from completing high school. After leaving school, he worked on the family farm until he met and in 1951 married, the love of his life, Edna Maurer, of Tofield, Alberta. They began their 65-year long marriage at his Uncle Sim’s farm near Bethel Church, where they lived until purchasing their own farm at the top of the hill just west of Carstairs, the one with the memorable view of the valley of the Carstairs Creek. Neil and Edna enjoyed a full and blessed life there until moving to the Chinook Winds Lodge in 2014. Neil resided at the lodge until earlier this spring when failing health led to his hospitalization and subsequent passing on August 18, 2019.
In the mid-sixties, Neil was hired by local veterinarians to work on the federal government’s project to rid Canadian cattle herds of brucellosis, and in the course of that work he visited almost every cattle farm and tested every cow in Township 31 from the eastern to the western borders of Mountain View County. He was later hired permanently by Agriculture Canada in the Health of Animals Branch, working first in Calgary, then for more than 25 years in Olds. From there he travelled across much of South Central Alberta, testing cattle, bison and other domestic animals for a variety of diseases and performing a multitude of other duties for the Branch.
By the mid 1970’s Neil and Edna were young empty nesters and kept themselves busy with farm, church and community activities. Neil worked many hours at the Carstairs Museum, eventually serving as chairman of the museum board. In 2010 Neil and Edna were named rural community volunteers of the year for the Carstairs community.
Neil loved to sing and had a good tenor voice. He was a member of The Drifters, a local choral group, from shortly after his retirement until his health prevented continued participation.
Neil was a dedicated and active attendee of the Church of God at Carstairs, serving in different offices including the church board and with the church’s Pine Grove Camp. He and Edna acted as youth directors at the Church of God for many years, still being affectionately called Mom and Dad by many of those they mentored. Being a faithful, quiet servant of his Master was of the highest importance to Neil.
Surviving to mourn Neil’s passing are his daughter Freda Blyth and husband Chuck, their sons Michael and wife Tracy, William, John and partner Genvieve, and Byron and wife Caitlin, and their grandchildren Tristan, Dimitri, Avery, Barrett and Violet Blyth; son Allen and wife Patti, their children Katrina Pike and husband Brian, Stephen and wife Ning, and Carolyn Huffman and husband Peter, and their grandchildren William, Donna and Neil Pike, Simon Good and Harvey and Franklin Huffman; and son Vernon and wife Ruth, their sons Sean and Ryan and Ryan’s wife Kellie, and their granddaughter Saoirse Good; sister Mary Wright, sister-in-law Freda Voegtlin, special friend Joan McNeil, and many nieces and nephews, cousins, friends and neighbours.
Neil was predeceased by beloved wife Edna, his parents, his brother Ernest and wife Jean, sister Greta Timmins and husband Robert, brother-in-law Gordon Wright, step-father Glen West, and his wife’s siblings Lorene Wideman, John Maurer, Mildred Buschert and Erma Mast.
[Funeral services for Neil were held from the Living Hope Church at Carstairs, Alberta, on Saturday August 24.]