Obituary of Leigh Audrey McNeil-Taboika
February 12, 1998 - May 19, 2023
Beloved daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend to so many, and cat-mom. Leigh was an engineer, teacher, artist and athlete in her short life.
Leigh was born on a beautiful sunny day in Calgary on February 12, 1998. Leigh had a remarkable ability to reach for the stars. She won scholarships and awards, made the team, finished the race, cooked and baked up a storm, travelled to many places and had her art published and sold from an early age. Leigh's inquisitive nature and boundless energy kept us trying to keep up.
Leigh decided to study engineering at the University of Toronto at age seventeen, and all the hard work and sleepless nights were worth it. She loved her collaborations with her University of Toronto Engineering classmates and met so many people who would become friends. This connection with so many exceptional individuals meant everything to her. After graduation, Leigh continued her academic studies and enrolled in a master's program focusing on teaching in engineering. Although Leigh was academically inclined, she enjoyed many hours of artistic pursuits and recently started a business selling her creations.
Leigh was diagnosed with cancer at age 20 after her third year of university. A cancer diagnosis was a huge shock and disappointment, but after six months, major surgery and aggressive chemotherapy, Leigh returned to finish her degree and graduate. After starting her master's program, cancer returned and was deemed incurable. Given a choice to take a conservative treatment that offered very little future or to participate and be part of an unproven clinical trial, Leigh bravely decided to take a leap of faith and participate in two separate trials. This decision meant a great deal of travel away from friends, family, and a conventional life when the world was in lockdown with an unprecedented pandemic.
Leigh received excellent health care over the past five years. The healthcare professionals from near and far offered their expertise, skill and compassion; we are eternally grateful.
Leigh lived a life of humility and grace. Leigh was incredibly kind and patient and instinctively always understood she should live life to the fullest. Leigh always had an unbelievable resilience to stay on course. Self-reflection was in Leigh's mindset, and she always wanted everyone around her to feel at ease.
As C.S Lewis said,
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less."
To the family and friends who visited in the past few months - know that you filled our home with love and laughter, and we feel so blessed. Good food, puzzles, games, movies and Polaroid pictures were an excellent way to connect and make this time so monumental.
Your presence mattered more than anything else.
Funeral Services will be held at Anglican Parish of Christ Church (3602 – 8th Street S.W., Calgary, AB) on Saturday, May 27, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. Reception to follow at the Church, Crump Room. We would like to encourage those attending the funeral to wear a cheerful colour. A Celebration of Leigh’s Life will also take place in Toronto, ON at a later date. Family and friends who are unable to attend in person are invited to join Leigh’s service streamed live (see below) on the day of the service. For those who are unable to view live, a recording of the service will be posted. Condolences, memories, and photos can also be shared and viewed here.
In living memory of Leigh McNeil-Taboika, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.
Click Here to View Leigh McNeil-Taboika's Memorial Card
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