Geraldine Desmond O'Neill
AGE: 83 • Wilmington
Geraldine (Geri) Desmond O'Neill, age 83, of Wilmington, DE, formerly of New York City, passed away on Sunday, March 9, 2014 at Cadia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, following a long illness. She was the daughter of William and Delia Desmond, and was raised in Richmond Hill, a neighborhood in Queens.
In 1945 Geri graduated from St. Mary Gate of Heaven Grammar School and in 1949 from Our Lady of Wisdom Academy, both in Queens. She was employed by the NY Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for three years and Dayton Price Advertising Company for another three years until shortly before marrying her "Bronx sweetheart", Eugene (Gene) O'Neill on May 1st, 1954. Soon after their nuptials, the couple moved to Delaware and raised a family of four children.
Geri was a devoted mother and homemaker who always went to great lengths to create a warm and welcoming household. She was an excellent hostess who frequently invited family, friends, and even newcomers to share in the fun and fellowship that flowed from the depths of her foundational hospitality. She taught her children the fundamental skills of cooking, keeping house, and entertaining with ease and finesse. In short, doing for others was at the core of her existence.
In the 1970's Geri began working again, motivated by the desire to see her children turn out well-educated and able to succeed in life. She spent roughly a decade as a sales associate for both John Wanamaker's and Bamberger's department stores. During these years she became a doting grandmother who chose to care for several of her grandchildren while their parents worked.
Geri will always be remembered for the following: her warm and generous heart; fierce loyalty to family and friends; love of music; delicious recipes that include favorites like Irish Soda Bread, corned beef, and spicy crab mold; quick wit and unforgettable sense of humor; her open-door policy; personal attractiveness and her ability to "dress to the nines".
Geri was predeceased by her son, Matthew W. O'Neill in January 2000 and daughter, Mary O'Neill Rush in May 2004. She is survived by her husband of nearly 60 years, Eugene B. O'Neill of Wilmington; daughter, Cathleen L. O'Neill of Wilmington; son, Christopher J. O'Neill and his wife, Liz of Wilmington; Rebecca Godwin (widow of Matthew) and her husband, Ron Godwin; Andy Rush (widower of Mary) and wife Bev, and eight grandchildren: Patrick O'Neill of Wilmington, Sean O'Neill of Conshohocken, PA, Christine O'Neill of Hoboken, NJ, Helen, Jack and Dan Rush of Washington, DC, and Brent and Maxwell O'Neill of Middletown.
Funeral services will be held at 11 am on Friday March 14, 2014 at Brandywine Valley Baptist Church, 7 Mt. Lebanon Road, Wilmington, DE 19803, preceded by visitation for family and friends from 10 to 11 am.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Geraldine's memory to the
, Delaware Chapter, 240 N. James Street, Suite 100A, Newport, DE 19804.
For online condolences,
HOMES & CREMATORYchandlerfuneralhome.com