September 1, 1935 - January 7, 2018
James W. O’Neill Obituary
James William O’Neill (82) of Plano, TX, died peacefully Sunday night January 7th, 2018 at Plano Medical City Hospital surrounded by a family that loved and adored him. He is survived by his loving wife Joan “Mimi” O’Neill (married 61 years), siblings Joe O’Neill and Pat O’Neill, his wife Collette, as well as a platoon of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. These include:
Jim was preceded in death by his father Joseph, mother Marie (Gigi), sister Dolly Michel married to Charles, sister Laura Williams married to Ted, sister Joanie Carr married to John, and sister in law Nancy (married to Joe O’Neill.)
Jim was born September 1st, 1935 in Saint Paul, MN. He was the fifth child in a family of six. Jim attended St. Thomas Military Academy in St. Paul, and then earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from Notre Dame University in 1957.
After marrying Joan in 1956, Jim took a job and moved to New York City, NY where James O’Neill Jr was born. Jim and Joan then moved the family to Albuquerque NM where John, Tim, Shannon, Steven, and David were born. In 1965 they moved the family to Houston, TX where their Michael was born in 1966. The family finally moved to Dallas in 1967 which has been their home ever since.
Jim worked for a number of companies, but while in Dallas he spent most of his time working for Gifford-Hill, The Mills Company, Overhead Door Corporation, and North Texas Cement.
Jim was an active member in many different organizations. The family joined St. Paul the Apostle church in Richardson, TX before moving to St. Rita’s church in Dallas. Jim and Joan “Mimi” were founding family members of All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas and served on the building committee as well as being members of the church choir in which both Mimi and Jim played guitar. Jim also joined the Notre Dame Club of Dallas and served in different administrative roles. Jim loved to work with the Hearts and Hammers organization repairing homes and was head of his homeowners association at his lake house in Trinidad TX. Jim worked for many years with his favorite charity St. Cecelia’s School in Oak Cliff. In 2010, Notre Dame University honored Jim with The Reverend Louis J. Putz, C.S.C. Award for his charitable work with St. Cecelia’s.
Jim was able to accomplish all of this while also helping to raise seven children, all of whom went to and graduated from either Notre Dame University or the University of Texas. The Notre Dame/UT rivalry was in full swing when the entire family went to South Bend in 2015 for ND vs UT game that happen to coincide with Jim’s 80th Birthday. A Notre Dame win made for the perfect birthday celebration!
Jim was passionate about his family. Early on when his children were young, Jim and Mimi bought a 1973 School Bus and converted it into a family camper. Every summer they would travel the country vacationing as it proved to be the best way to travel with a family of nine.
As the kids grew older, Jim and Mimi purchased a lakehouse on Cedar Creek Lake. The lakehouse was always Jim’s favorite place to be, as it reminded him of his parent’s lake house on White Bear Lake in Minnesota. Jim loved being on the water either captaining his 18-foot Hobie Cat catamaran or taking all the family for leisurely cruises on a deck boat.
Jim loved to play golf, especially with his children and grandchildren. When he was not golfing, he was watching Notre Dame football or his beloved Dallas Cowboys. Jim and Mimi worked very hard to attend almost every graduation, baptism, first communion, and wedding for all their grandchildren. It was so very important to Jim that his family know of his and Mimi’s love and support.
For his retirement, Jim’s children surprised him with a working 1953 American LeFrance firetruck. The fire truck was painted green and converted to a parade truck and was used by the family to march in the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade with Notre Dame Club of Dallas. With 21 Grandkids now in the family, the firetruck was eventually replaced by a 1975 American LaFrance that is still used each year in the parade and is the perfect way to celebrate the most important O’Neill holiday.
Nothing was more important to Jim than his family and his Irish heritage and in fact, he and Mimi took a trip to the homeland with their seven kids and spouses to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Jim and Joan moved into the retirement home Highland Springs in Dallas and quickly made many friends. Jim worked as a “Woodchucker” (a group of men that work in the wood working shop) making toys for hospitalized children. Each year Jim and his wife Mimi played Santa and Mrs. Claus for the residents and their families, an honor that Jim refused to give up even in the last weeks of his life.
Mimi and the family are so proud of Jim and the life of service and giving that he exemplified. His life was defined by love and laughter. We will miss his infectious laugh, his smiling Irish eyes, and his willingness to help others throughout his whole life.
There will be a celebration of Jim’s life, including a mass held at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Friday, January 19th, 2018 at 11:00 AM at 5100 W Plano, Pkwy, Plano, TX 75093. Afterwards, there will be a reception held at Oak Point Park Nature & Retreat Center, 5901 Los Rios Boulevard, Plano, TX 75074.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Jim O’Neill Scholarship Fund for St. Cecilia’s School in Oak Cliff – Inwood National Bank PO BOX 7206, Dallas, TX 75209. (Include the routing number)
Arrangements are under the direction of
ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252
To express your sympathy with a flower arrangement please contact our florist.