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Memories & Candles

“Wish there was a place I could leave a message - this will have to do. Love you papa, miss you papa. ”
1 of 26 | Posted by: Elizabeth - Ottumwa, IA

“Still missing you. ”
2 of 26 | Posted by: Thelma - Wife

“I first met Bill while he was out with his wife, Thelma, dancing. Oh, he had a twinkle in his eye, it was clear immediately that he was enjoying the...Read More »
3 of 26 | Posted by: Cathryn A. Layer - New London, IA

“Last night I went out to dinner with friends for the first time since Bill died. After coffee the waitress asked if I was his wife and shared that...Read More »
4 of 26 | Posted by: Thelma - wife

“I didn't speak with him often before he died but I sure do miss him now. The world will be a less interesting place without his wonderful mind and...Read More »
5 of 26 | Posted by: Dan Niemi - Portland, OR

“Sad to hear of Mr. O'Neill's passing. I work at Family Medicine in Mt. Pleasant and would try to go out and bring him in to the clinic in a wheel...Read More »
6 of 26 | Posted by: Mona Nichting - Mt. Pleasant, IA

“I met Bill when I moved to Keokuk to marry his close friend John. Bill couldn't have been more welcoming. Early on, I took a Psychology class that...Read More »
7 of 26 | Posted by: Kit Phipps-Winfrey - Keokuk, IA

“Bill: As I prepare your eulogy, I am painfully aware that my words won't be able to capture your value as a friend, impact as an educator, or love...Read More »
8 of 26 | Posted by: John Phipps-Winfrey - Keokuk, IA

“Bon Voyage Bro; Travel well and I know that some day we will again sit around discussing the problems and solutions to this worlds problems. I convey...Read More »
9 of 26 | Posted by: John O'Neill - Cincinnati, OH

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the O'Neill family. I hope the fond and cherished memories of your dad/husband/grandfather help you at this...Read More »
10 of 26 | Posted by: Kathie Mason - Ottumwa, IA

“Dr O'Neill was great professor. He was one of my favorites. He inspired me to pursue my degree in psychology. He always challenged me to voice my own...Read More »
11 of 26 | Posted by: Amber Berry

“Bill can not nor will be forgotten. If Bill loved you, he loved you with no end. I know you are smiling down especially on Thelma, Elizabeth, Barry...Read More »
12 of 26 | Posted by: Ralph Hatke

“Yesterday, today and always. Love you. ”
13 of 26 | Posted by: Thelma - Wife

“I worked with Bill at Southeastern Community College and respected him greatly. Bill was such a wonderful person with a great sense of humor. I...Read More »
14 of 26 | Posted by: Deanne Enderle - Keokuk, IA

“For Elizabeth and Barry, I remember you fondly as very sweet Kindergarteners. I don't remember your Dad but if he was a part of your lives he must...Read More »
15 of 26 | Posted by: joyce Kramer [formerly Warren] - IA

“Dr. O'Neill and I, as IHCC instructors, taught along side of the Ottumwa Heights teachers during the first years of the transition when IHCC...Read More »
16 of 26 | Posted by: Clark Mefford - Ottumwa, IA

“Right now I imagine Bill's voice and know that not to hear him again is part of how I will miss him. I've known him since he worked in Renton in...Read More »
17 of 26 | Posted by: Judy Clark - Bellevue, WA

“I only met William O'Neill one time at his daughter's wedding. However I felt that i got to know him better than that through talking with Liz. I...Read More »
18 of 26 | Posted by: Sherilyn Hines - Kansas City, KS

“I had the oppritunity to meet Willaim O'Neill in 2007. My first impression of him was that he had an easy, welcoming way about him. He radiated...Read More »
19 of 26 | Posted by: Fallon

“I didn't know Bill all that well - only met him a handful of times. However, he was one of my dearest friend's fathers. You could always see the...Read More »
20 of 26 | Posted by: Sarah Hobson - PA

“Bill was my freshman English teacher at DeLa Salle HS in Detroit in 1962. He remained a friend, especially providing an "intelligent ear" during my...Read More »
21 of 26 | Posted by: peter callanan - mount clemens, MI

“All my love, all my life papa. ”
22 of 26 | Posted by: Elizabeth - daughter

“I did not know Dr. Bill outside our relationship at Southeasterb Community College, but kept up with his retirement activity through his friend John...Read More »
23 of 26 | Posted by: Tim Ahern - IA

“Missing you ”
24 of 26 | Posted by: Barry O'Neill - Son

“I worked with Bill at SCC in Keokuk. When Bill first started at the college I didn't quite know what to make of him. Sometimes he seemed a little...Read More »
25 of 26 | Posted by: Barb Altheide - Keokuk, IA

“I first met Bill when he worked at IWC. Later we both worked for SCC. I always enjoyed having conversations with Bill. He was always interesting...Read More »
26 of 26 | Posted by: John Cavanah - Burlington, IA


William J. O’Neill, Ph.D., 72, of Mt. Pleasant, IA died Sunday, July 25, 2010 in his home following a lengthy battle with emphysema.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 Saturday, July 31, at the Church of the Open Bible with the Rev. Harold Schutte officiating. Iowa Cremation is assisting the family. The family will receive guests at the church 45 minutes prior to the service.

Survivors include his wife, Thelma; Son, Barry O’Neill of Urbandale; Daughter, Elizabeth O’Neill-Rich and son in law Joe Rich of Ottumwa; a grandson, William Rich; Mother, Helen VanGombos of Cincinnati, OH; Brother, John O’Neill of Cincinnati, OH, Beloved pet, Jack; and several nieces and nephews.

His father, brother, sister, and grandchild preceded him in death.

William James O’Neill was born February 7, 1938 in Cincinnati, OH. William joined Congregation of Christian Brothers in West Park, New York and served as a brother from 1955-1962. William was a member of the Franciscan Alumni Association. On June 15, 1973 he married Thelma Niemi at Seattle, WA. He was an educator for 46 years including his role as teacher for all grades, counselor, principal, college professor for private and community colleges, and community college administrator. William retired from Southeastern Community College in 2005. William valued education earning a bachelor’s degree; two masters degrees and a doctorate degree. He encouraged his children and students to see the lifetime value in education. William’s interests included religious history, ethics and literature. He loved all music and played the piano and organ. William enjoyed ballroom dancing and photography. Over his lifetime Bill had three dogs Eli, Doc, and Jack; he considered them to be his friends. William was known for his loyalty to family and friends. He credited his wife Thelma and the birth of his children Elizabeth and Barry for making his life a joyous one. His grandson and namesake William Joseph Rich was a particular source of joy.

Memorials may be sent in his name to the John Paul II Stem Cell Research Institute, 540 E. Jefferson, Suite 305, Iowa City, IA 52245.