William O'Neill

Obituary of William O'Neill

Sing a song, do a dance, tell a joke or out you go!" According to Bill O'Neill, that was the rule in his family when he was growing up. Known as a great storyteller, he also sang as easily, and as well, as he talked and welcomed anyone he met as a friend. Always willing to offer help in times of trouble, he was equally willing to join in any celebration and liven any occasion. His circle of friends only expanded with every passing year and his impact on their lives will surely be felt for years to come. William Hendrin O'Neill was born on April 6, 1915 in Gillespie, Illinois, the youngest of 10 children. He died at St. Joseph's nursing home in Kenosha, Wisconsin on April 16, 2008. Bill O'Neill met his first wife, Violet Geer, in the 1930's, when both worked at Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest. He served in the army during World War II with the Blue Devils in Italy, earning a Purple Heart, and did time as a POW before being released after VE Day and returning to the States. He and his wife moved to Waukegan in the 50's and raised two foster children while Bill worked as a machinist at VR Wesson for 30 years. They were members of Immaculate Conception Parish, where both belonged to the Alter and Rosary Society and where William joined the Knights of Columbus. He sang in the Men's choir there and served as lector for many years. He was also a member of the VFW, Homer Derringer Post. Widowed in 1975, Bill married his second wife, Loretta Kennedy, in 1979, a few years before his retirement. The couple eventually moved to Beach Park, Illinois, joining Our Lady of Humility Parish. Bill continued to live there for several years after her death. He eventually moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he later died. Bill O'Neill was preceded in death by his parents Susan and James O'Neill, and his nine brothers and sisters, including Helen LaBow, Elizabeth Gallery, John O'Neill, Patrick O'Neill, James O'Neill, Thomas O'Neill, Sarah Tegtmeyer, Larry O'Neill and Marie Walsh. He was also preceded in death by his first and second wives and his son, Paul Christensen. Mr. O'Neill is survived by one daughter, Patricia Christensen, a step-daughter, Rody (Phil) Cleveland, and two step-sons, John (and Ginny) Kennedy and Jerry (Sherry) Kennedy. He is also survived by a daughter-in-law, Kay Christensen, nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 21th at Our Lady of Humility Church, 10655 W. Wadsworth Road, Beach Park. Interment will follow at Ascension Cemetery, Libertyville. Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. on Monday until the time of services at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations for Mass intentions may be sent to Our Lady of Humility Parish.
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