Neil Edward McColl has passed away following a long illness. Mr McColl, who founded Shaan Optical with his Canadian wife Marilyn, was highly respected in the optometric profession.
Mr McColl’s interest in optics was ignited at the age of 18 while he was on a ‘schoolies’ weekend at Torquay, Victoria. Dendritic ulcers, caused by sand in his eyes, left him blind for the better part of a year and had him making frequent visits to eye care professionals. He decided to train as an optical dispenser with OPSM in Geelong, and when qualified, went on to work for OPSM in Mildura.
After moving to Canada, and over the course of 13 years, Mr McColl owned seven optical dispensaries and two lens fitting labs. Eventually he decided to sell up and move back to Australia with Marilyn and their two children, Shannon and Aaron. Shaan Optical was born in Cairns in 1983, with Mr McColl doing the selling and Mrs McColl managing the office.
Shaan Optical eventually outgrew the area, and so the family moved to Brisbane where the house became both their home and the business premises. At this time, much of Mr McColl’s business life was spent on the road, as he travelled the length and breadth of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji three weeks out of four. Later he employed staff to assist in the business, some of whom remained in his employ for several decades.
For almost five years prior to his passing, Mr McColl battled prostate cancer and multiple myeloma. His son Aaron said that despite this, “throughout the turmoil in almost all facets of his life, including the liquidation of his business in 2017, after 34 years of trade, he carried on bravely and did what he needed to do to get the job done, whatever that may have been”.
In his eulogy, Aaron McColl, owner of Aarons Eyewear, described his father as “a friend, father, grandfather and great grandfather; pilot, boatie, fisherman, optician, entrepreneur, business owner and employer to many; comedian, storyteller, mover of houses, changer of cars, part time model/ actor and full time ladies’ man”.
May he rest in peace.