A Biography about Luke Neville by his Brothers
Luke was born in Montreal on November 5th 1968, the fourth and final son. The 3 amigos already firmly establish in the family, Paul, Mark and Peter, were extremely excited to meet the newest arrival. From that point on, Luke pretty much always had one or more of his brothers nearby. Luke, by the nature of his environment, grew up fast as we were his role models and several years older. He was always accepted in any sport or activity we were engaged in, mostly street hockey. We pushed him beyond his years, within reason of course, to keep up with us.
Our parents instilled in us a great sense of belonging and comfort in being part of family and we stuck together as one. They spent most weekends and good parts of the summer taking us camping and fishing all over eastern Canada and the north eastern United States which Luke enjoyed so much and had so many great adventures with us all.
Most of Luke’s free time at home was spent playing baseball, street hockey, bicycling and fishing. He, as did we all, loved the outdoors, with the occasional visits to the arcades, especially when it was raining.
Luke did very well in school and made a lot of smart choices. He managed to graduate high school in 4 short years at age 16. He learned how to type and cook which his brothers overlooked and would regret later on in life.
Towards the end of the 70’s and early 80’s, Luke’s stable and fairly structured life saw a lot of changes. His oldest brother Paul joined the army and Mark got a full time job as an insurance adjuster so time with them was limited. He had lots of fun with Mom, Dad and Pete but things were different now and change was coming faster than ever before. Mom and dad decided to leave Montreal for a variety of reasons. Luke seemed to roll with the punches as Ottawa became our new home. The family was back together in the same place, as Paul had recently been posted here.
Our dad, through no fault of his own, had some very serious issues that haunted him most days. Despite our mom’s tremendous support and understanding over so many years and his strong will to live, he eventually lost too many battles. Luke was 15 at the time and witnessed the tragedy that shattered our lives. We tried to focus our energy on mom and Luke. Mark took Luke under his wings and kept him busy and safe. Luke took a huge interest in auto body work where he got a job at a local body shop called Caesar’s Auto Body and learnt the trade from a to z. He ended up restoring 2 cars of his own, a ‘70 Camaro and a ‘73 Mercedes Benz. Later Luke went to visit Paul who was stationed in West Germany. Luke planned on visiting for 2 weeks, it stretched into 2 years. Luke found a job on the base as a civilian employee and shared an apartment with Paul. Luke found a new passion, to travel the world. He visited most countries in Western Europe and several Eastern European countries as well. Paul returned to Canada in 1989 and Luke soon followed.
Luke now had a dream to follow in Mark’s footsteps and become a firefighter. He did very well on the test but in the end, had a change of heart. He did odd jobs for a while in Ottawa but grew restless and seemed to struggle on what path to take. Paul left the Military in 93’ and returned to Ottawa. Luke, Peter and Paul all started training together and taking tests in various cities to become firefighters. By the late 90’s Luke and his three brothers were all full time firefighters in the Ottawa Region. A few years later, several cities in the region amalgamated and all 4 brothers were now serving together within the Ottawa Fire Service.
All would seem pretty good for Luke at this point, but something was off, he seemed unsettled. Luke talked about leaving Ottawa altogether and in Aug. of 2001, he handed in his resignation. One year later he sold his house in Kars and a short time later departed for Taiwan where he began teaching English. Luke seemed to enjoy the work but as with most other endeavors, it only lasted a few years.
By 2003 Luke was done with Ontario winters and had his sights set on warmer climates. In early May 2003 he flew to Costa Rica and then to Florida looking to start anew. Costa Rica didn’t pan out and after sometime in Florida he came back home with the intention of returning in a year. He spent the next year doing odd jobs here and there and turning an older van into a camper that would take him to Florida. In early June of 2004, Luke set off to Florida in his camper van with his beloved German Shepherd “Shadow” right by his side. He worked doing renovations and helped rebuilding after hurricane Charley hit the coast. He enjoyed Florida and seemed happy there but roughly a year later he was on the road again with a planned destination of British Columbia.
Once in B.C, he bounced around a bit until finding the small scenic town of Spences Bridge in 2006. It was his paradise. Here, he had lots of wide-open spaces to walk, hike and go canoeing with his dogs (Shadow, Zulu and Anna). He loved the beautiful scenery and desirable climate. He bought an older house and settled in. He did renovations and owned his own business making pizza ovens. He was, by all accounts very much welcomed in the community, very helpful and generous to any of his neighbours and strangers alike. He made some very cherished friendships in and around town. He also got back into firefighting, responding to medical calls, motor vehicle accidents and so on. He did well as a volunteer and helped with training. Eventually his busy schedule got to be too much and he left the volunteers but never stopped helping others in need.
Every so often he would take a flight home and spend quality time with his whole family who loved to have him home, even if just for a short while. In September 2017, his nephew Patrick was getting married. Luke wouldn’t miss this for the world, he rented a house boat on the Rideau river and had a relaxing week prior to the wedding just cruising along, fishing and swimming with whoever dropped by. The wedding was great and we all spent as much time as we could with Luke. We danced, laughed, shared memories and drinks until late that night, totally unaware that this would be the last time we would see are beautiful brother Luke.
One month later we received “the call”. The RCMP major crimes unit out of Kelowna, reports that Luke is a “missing person” where foul play is suspected and they fear the worst. Over the next couple of weeks, information slowly trickled in that further supported, “the worst” theory. Eventually, the 3 remaining brothers had to inform our mom, “sorry, but your youngest son won’t ever be coming back”, shattered to pieces once again. Over a year later, we are left to wonder, what the hell happened? What do we do now? How can nobody have come forward yet? How can anybody live with knowing that they have denied us of so much, they’ve denied us our baby brother. 4 brothers with over 90 years of combine service to the people, denied.