Gordon O'Neil

Gordon Eugene "Gene" O'Neil

February 1st, 1930 - April 7th, 2020
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Gordon Eugene O’Neil, “Gene.”

Age 90, of Minneapolis, passed away April 7th, 2020. He will be remembered for his positive
outlook, devout Catholic faith, and appreciation for the simple pleasures of life.

Gene was born February 1, 1930, to Gordon and Gladys O’Neil, growing up in Faribault, MN,
joining his older brother John, “Jack,” for an idyllic childhood in the small town. After graduating
from Saint Thomas College, he considered becoming a priest and attended the seminary for a
year but realized he wanted to experience the joy of having a family. He also served in the Navy
during the Korean War. He worked at Catholic Charities before joining Careers Employment
Agency where he met Judy, his future wife, and mother of his five children. He also worked at
Honeywell Aero Division and Tonka Toys. In 1972, he joined Midwest Special Services as
President, growing the small organization in St. Paul into a provider of needed services for
persons with disabilities throughout the greater Twin Cities. He retired in 2000. In addition to his
contributions working for a non-profit and serving his country, he volunteered at his church and
with Loaves and Fishes.

His family was the joy and pride of his life. He made family outings a priority with hikes, picnics,
sledding, ice skating, going to the beach to swim or playing tennis. Canoeing down the St. Croix
River was another favorite. He was an expert in finding scenic roads “off the beaten path” in the
countryside. Always game for a Sunday drive any day of the week in his red convertible, Gene
preferred the top down, blasting Patsy Cline music with a stop to enjoy lunch. He loved to be
active--jogging around Lake Harriet and playing handball at Calhoun Beach Club into his

Gene was proud of his Irish heritage and St. Patrick's Day was a favorite day. He often attended
the parade and hosted his own party where he always sang, “Oh Danny Boy.” After retirement,
he found he enjoyed writing poetry and a lucky few have a poem written for them.

An eternal optimist, Gene always saw the glass more than half full. The house was never dirty,
his health was always fine, and every day was sunny. After a pessimistic conversation with his
Doctor less than a month ago, Gene proclaimed, “You know, I think the Doctor was just having
a bad day. He was so positive at my last appointment, I feel fine, let’s have a beer!”

When visiting, he always asked a pertinent question for you and your interests, always curious
about your opinion. His door was ever open, there was no need to call, and he was always
happy to see you--offering a chair and a glass. This gentle and humble spirit will be deeply

He is survived by his children, Stephen O’Neil (Tamrah), Patrick O’Neil (Daniel Sihocky), Annie
Wobbeking (Brian), Colleen O’Neil (Jeffry Taylor), and Daniel O’Neil; Judy, the mother of his children.
Grandchildren, Kincaid, Abbriella, Mercedes, Xavier (Stephen and Tamrah) Grace, Natalie (Daniel O’Neil);
brother, Jack O’Neil (Kate) and family.

Private Mass of Christian Burial was held at Our Lady of Grace and Interment St. Mary's Cemetery.

Memorial preferences to Midwest Special Services (MSS) St.Paul.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 612 861 6088
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, April 16th, 2020 |
    Thursday, April 16th, 2020
    Gill Brothers Southwest Funeral Home (Invite only)
    5801 Lyndale Avenue South
    Minneapolis, MN 55419
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Mass of Christian Burial (Private, by invite only)

    Friday, April 17th, 2020 |
    Friday, April 17th, 2020
    The Church of Our Lady of Grace
    5071 Eden Avenue
    Edina, MN 55436
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Fr. Kevin Finnegan
  • Interment

    St. Mary's Cemetery
    4401 Chicago Avenue South
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

John N. O'Neil, Ph.D.

Posted at 01:37pm
Yes indeed, my Uncle Gene was a most compassionate man. His work with Midwest Special Services providing all kinds assistance to adults with developmental disabilities was just one fine example of his selflessness and caring for others. I might also add that I am extremely grateful to him for connecting me with the psychology group practice where I started my psychology career in MN after completing my doctorate at The Ohio State University, over 20 years ago! Uncle Gene was truly instrumental in helping me to establish my psychology career, perhaps all the more fitting in light of his being my Godfather, too! Needless to say, I love and will miss him dearly...John N. O'Neil, Ph.D.

Lynn Prokop

Posted at 01:14pm
Walking down the alley I was always invited in when the kids came to visit. A glass, or two, or more of wine would find its way to the picnic table and we would all exchange stories into the night. We will miss you Gene, and lift a beer to your memory when ever the neighbors gather. Godspeed!

Michael Dorschner

Posted at 11:39am
As the next door neighbors of Gene our beloved memories have been accumulating over a span of more than forty years. He welcomed us with open arms when we first moved into our home and shared his loving spirit with us ever after. He was as much of an angel on earth as he is in heaven. The legacy he has left us is his wonderful family, his pride and joy, who enrich our world equally as much as he did. Our hearts go out to all of you. We share your sadness and truly mourn the loss of your father and our friend. -- Michael, Rory, Nathan, Andrea, and Kyle

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 01:42pm
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