Thomas “Tom” O’Neill, 84, passed away on Tuesday March 23, 2021 at his home. He was born on December 15, 1936 in Bergen County, New Jersey, son of the late Paul Thomas O’Neill and Vera Waddington O’Neill.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his three brothers Robert “Bob” O’Neill, Sr., John “Jack” O’Neill, Sr. and Donald O’Neill, Sr.
Tom is survived by his son Michael O’Neill and his wife Patricia, daughter Kathy O’Neill Stilwell and her husband Keith, grandson Paul Stilwell and granddaughter Allison Stilwell Humphrey and her husband James, ex-wife Linda Gelbach O’Neill and many nieces and nephews. He took special delight in and cherished his great granddaughter Laura.
Tom began his work career at Jersey Bell as a telephone lineman upon graduation from high school in 1954 and continued his career advancing within Southern Bell and AT&T retiring in 1991 as one of AT&T’s most knowledgeable computer system technicians.
Tom had a wide variety of interests and hobbies that he pursued with enthusiasm and with people with whom he formed lasting friendships. Always ready to record the moment, he was an avid photographer starting as the photographer for his high school in North Arlington, NJ and later spending many hours with his camera at DSBG. He learned to fly and owned his own airplane while still in his twenties. Also a model train buff, he was an active member of the Metrolina Model Railroaders working on model train layouts displayed at the Southern Christmas show and DSBG. Tom embraced his Irish heritage, including a love of traditional Irish music and dance. His interest in family history resulted in extensive genealogy research and he filled in the family tree back into the 1500’s. Tom enjoyed many years as a member of the Mecklenburg Wildlife Club and later the Gaston County Wildlife Club, where he spent his later years living on the Catawba River in Belmont enjoying the company of his neighbors, friends and family – all of whom have enjoyed the many stories of life he was always ready to share.
A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday April 10th in the Fellowship Hall at Park Street United Methodist Church in Belmont, NC.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
Charlotte Folk Society (www.folksociety.org)
Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens (www.dsbg.org)
Gaston Residential Services (www.grsinc.org)