Obituary of Robert O’Neill
Rosary 04.27.2018 6:00 PM at W.F. Gormley & Sons, 2015 Capitol Ave, Sacramento, CA 95811 Mass 04.28.2018 10:00 AM at St. Joseph’s Church, 32890 S River Rd, Clarksburg, CA 95612 Interment will be private.
Born on February 11, 1936 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Robert O’Neill was welcomed by Mr. James F. O’Neill and Mrs. Frances Cox O’Neill. To his then eight-year-old sister, however, he was decidedly unwelcome, a posture that only hardened as he grew more … energetic. Because senior O’Neill was employed by the Federal Bureau of Mines, the family moved often, even spending a few years in the Philippines. Home, however, was always Galax, Virginia, from which Frances and her five sisters hailed. Bobby, as he was known by everyone except, evidently, his wife and children, was ever the rascal. Celene apparently was right about him. The joke was on her, though, because after a stint at boarding school, he was sent to California to live with Celene and her husband, the beloved Jack McKeever.
While there, he began his education at USF where he was, predictably, the funny one of his group. To everyone’s surprise, however, he left USF to join the seminary, which, to no one’s surprise, he left after a short while. Upon his return, and fortunately for his yet-to-be-born four children, he took up with Mariquita Gomez, whom he had the good sense to marry on April 23, 1960. They then proceeded to have their four children, rapid fire like, between June 1961 and December 1965 and, no, none are twins.
Bob pursued careers much like he pursued his education. He began as a jeweler, but eventually joined the California Youth Authority at O.H. Close School for Boys in Stockton, California, from which he retired in 1985. Patrick says that after Bob’s retirement, Bob and Mariquita planned to move to Scotland. Beth, who was still living with and conversing with her parents daily, says they were planning no such thing. Whatever they were planning, and it was not a move to Scotland, everything came to a close when Mariquita lost her brief battle with cancer on April 1, 1987. Bob missed her every single day of the 31 years they
were apart. But the rascal had one more surprise in him: In 1990, Bob decided to finish what he started over 30 years and four kids earlier: he returned to the seminary and was eventually ordained for the Diocese of Stockton. After several years in parish life, Fr. Bob again chose a new direction and became the chaplain for Hacienda De Colores, a school and home for developmentally disabled children in the Diocese of Sacramento.
There, Fr. Bob found a second family, and he spent the final 17 years of his life ministering to them. Fr. Bob will be missed by many. His humor never left him nor did his propensity for rascally behavior. The family greatly appreciates the love and care of so many during this difficult time. Preceded in death by wife Mariquita Gomez O’Neill of Stockton, Father James F. O’Neill, Tuscaloosa Alabama, Mother Frances Cox O’Neill, of Tuscaloosa Alabama, Sister Celene F. O’Neill McKeever of Wallace, California and brother-in-law Jack McKeever of Wallace, California.
Survived by his children Patrick J. O’Neill of Sacramento, Kelli S. O’Neill of Davis, California, David J. O’Neill of Lodi California, and Beth O’Neill of Sacramento, and his grandson, Aiden R. O’Neill of Lodi California.
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