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Dennis Michael O’Neill

December 8, 1943 May 7, 2019
Dennis Michael O’Neill
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Obituary for Dennis Michael O’Neill

Dennis Michael O’Neill, 75, of Edenton, NC, formerly of Morristown, NJ, ended his hard fought battle with a rare cancer on early Tuesday morning, May 7, 2019. He passed away in his wonderful home library, surrounded by his loving family and the books he treasured. He was born on December 8, 1943 in Washington, IN, to Timothy James and Mary Melissa O’Neill (both deceased). He was also preceded in death by his sister, Linda Butler.
Surviving are Vonna Morgan O’Neill, his beloved wife of 51 years; three sons Michael Harris (Leigh), Christopher Morgan and Joshua Scott (Caitlin) O’Neill. He was grandpa (Popo) to four wonderful grandchildren: Brennan, Morgan, Shane and Kelly O’Neill. Siblings: Pat (Judy) O’Neill, Timmy (Bobbie) O’Neill and brother-in-law Chuck Butler. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews who found their Uncle Denny smart, funny and generous with his guidance. Extended family includes Vonna’s mother, Gretna Torlone, and siblings; and dear friends who continue to love and support the O’Neills.
Denny was a competitive swimmer, winning the Junior Olympics at age 12, and was part of several national championship teams. He was recruited by Olympic coach, Dr. James Counsilman, and awarded a full scholarship to Indiana University. Denny was an alternate for the U.S. Olympics team in the 1960s. What determines the kind of man that you become? For Denny it was swimming that was at the heart of everything he ever achieved. Swimming provided him a college education, taught him individual and team disciplines, and as the beach director at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Indiana, led him to the love of his life.
Denny completed his education with an MBA from the University of Arizona, resulting in a highly successful career with Western Electric, Lucent Technologies and AT&T. His executive leadership skills resulted in the development of strategic applications and sustaining products still in use today.
Denny and Vonna moved to Edenton in 2005 and restored John W. Branning’s circa 1890 house in the historic district. Denny was an active Board member and past president of the historic house museum, 1758 Cupola House, where he and his wife were voted Members for Life (2 of 8 awarded in the last 100 years). Denny had a passion for history and was an investor who helped purchase, save, restore and revive, both historically significant Pembroke Hall and the Taylor Theatre. The couple previously lived in the historic district in Morristown, NJ for 25 years with their three sons. The O’Neill family restored a historic home there as well. Denny was a Board member and past president of the Kellogg Club. In addition to leading the historic community club, the former Olympic level athlete also taught swimming to younger club members which resulted in a competitive swim team.
This avid history buff loved reading about WWII and the Cold War, with which he filled his home library. In addition, he loved researching and documenting the history of the Cupola House and its contents. Denny was instrumental in the development of a comprehensive guidebook for training the docents, so visitors and members alike could appreciate and better understand this historic treasure.
He said the best decision of his life was marrying Vonna, and his greatest accomplishment was raising three, good, responsible and loving men.
Visitation at Miller Funeral Home & Crematory, 735 Virginia Road, Edenton, will be Wednesday, May 8, between the hours of 6:00-7:30 pm. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 9, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 11:00am, with a reception to follow at the Cupola House Gardens.
Visitation at Doyle’s Funeral Home, 106 Maple Avenue, Morristown, NJ, will be Sunday, May 12, between the hours of 2-5 pm. The Funeral Mass will be Monday at 10 am in Assumption Catholic Church, followed by the burial in historic Holy Rood Cemetery. A reception will follow the burial and will be held at the Kellogg Club, 25 Colles Avenue in Morristown.
The family asks in lieu of flowers, Memorial contributions be made to the Cupola House, PO Box 311, Edenton, NC 27932; the Boys and Girls Club – Edenton, 131 Morristown RD, Edenton, NC 27932 or the Assumption School Scholarship Program, 63 Macculloch Ave, Morristown, NJ 07960.
Online condolences may be made by visiting www.millerfhc.com.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Sunday

12

May

2:00 PM 5/12/2019 2:00:00 PM - 5:00 PM 5/12/2019 5:00:00 PM
Doyle Funeral Home

106 Maple Ave.
Morristown, NJ 07960

Doyle Funeral Home
106 Maple Ave. Morristown 07960 NJ
United States

Mass of Christian Burial

Monday

13

May

10:00 AM 5/13/2019 10:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 5/13/2019 11:00:00 AM
Church of the Assumption

91 Maple Ave
Morristown, NJ 07960

Church of the Assumption
91 Maple Ave Morristown 07960 NJ
United States

Graveside

Monday

13

May

11:15 AM 5/13/2019 11:15:00 AM - 11:45 AM 5/13/2019 11:45:00 AM
Holy Rood Cemetery

61 Whippany Road
Morristown, NJ 07960

Holy Rood Cemetery
61 Whippany Road Morristown 07960 NJ
United States
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