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Eugene P. O’Neill
Essex Jct., VT
Eugene Paul O’Neill, beloved husband, devoted father (both grand and great), and caring friend peacefully passed away on January 30 after a long illness that he fought with untold strength, courage and his ubiquitous sense of humor. He was 89.
He was born on May 3 1929, in Walpole, NH to John James and Eunice Mary (Goodell) O’Neill. He was a loving son and brother to his 5 siblings (all pre-deceased) Dennis, Bertha, Hugh, Billy and Ethan.
He graduated from St. Michael’s College with a Bachelor’s degree in Classics and then served in the Army from 1952-1954 during the Korean War. He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Master’s degree in English in 1961.
He committed his professional life to teaching English at St. Michael’s College for 35 years. He joined the English Department Faculty in 1956, and served as director of the college’s International Students program from 1970-1981. He established the college’s first Language Laboratory and helped create a master’s degree teaching program: Teaching English as a Second Language.
In 1991 he retired to spend time with his family and pursue his many interests. He took his wife to Canada for their yearly honeymoon, his son to wild game dinners, and his daughters and grandchildren to circuses, ball games and on many adventures. He ate all the foods he loved (which was all the foods), learned everything there is to know about every US President, and studied numismatics. In 2005 he fulfilled a lifelong dream of going to Ireland, the birthplace of his grandparents.
A lifelong philanthropist, he gave his time, money and experience to many causes. He was a communicant of Holy Family Parish where he served as a lector for over 35 years, assisting at funerals and as Eucharistic minister. He was an active volunteer for organizations such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Families Anonymous and Meals on Wheels.
He worked hard his whole life and he didn’t stop at retirement, working at the Chittenden County Insurance Agency, US census and as a crossing guard on Main Street in Essex Junction.
His love for language and way with words was his greatest gift and he wrote many poems, songs and short stories throughout his life. He bestowed each of his children and grandchildren with their own lullaby or limerick. His stories of wigawoos, sprites and trolls will continue to delight and terrorize children for years to come.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 53 years Nora Bellview O’Neill; daughter Julia O’Neill, son Eugene O’Neill and his wife Susan, and daughter Margaret (Peggy) Willoughby and her husband Stephen; His five grandchildren Timothy Dumas and partner Christine Archer, Jessica Buehman, Richard (RJ) O’Neill and his wife Tiffaney, Tyler O’Neill and his partner Libberty Dockery, and Casey O’Neill. One of his greatest joys were his great-grandsons Lucas Buehman and Conor O’Neill. He also claimed two step great-grandsons- Eddie Bessette Jr. and Marek Smith. He also leaves behind special friends Norman Lacharite, Rick Gamache, and Maddox Edwards.
He was pre-deceased by his beloved grandson Colin O’Neill.
The family would like to thank his special caregivers Karey Young, Bonnie Ball, and Nikki Goodman; case manager Heidi little; Dr. Diane Rippa and the staff at Evergreen; Armistead and Bayada home health services; Dr. Katharine Cheung at UVM Nephrology; the many doctors, nurses and LNAs at UVM health care, Green Mountain and Starr Farm nursing homes; and the McClure Miller Respite House.
A memorial mass will be held on Monday, February 4, 2019 at 11 am at Holy Family Catholic Church, 30 Lincoln St., Essex Jct., VT. Burial will be in the spring at Holy Family cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the McClure Miller Respite House, 3113 Roosevelt Highway, Colchester, VT 05446.