Thomas John O'Neill, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Thomas John O'Neill passed away peacefully at his home Saturday, March 30, 2013. He was born February 22, 1924, to Lorette and Charles O'Neill in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 55 years, Kathryn. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, William and James.
He is survived by his 12 children, Margaret (Peggy) O'Neill, Catherine O'Neill, Thomas John O'Neill, Jr, (PhD, Susan), Regina Cabatu (Mog), Patricia (Trisha) Ito (Alan), Maureen (Mo) O'Neill, Lorette (Lori) O'Neill-Bain (Bob), Raymond O'Neill (Cathy), Charles O'Neill (PhD), Dennis O'Neill (Ilka), Lisa O'Neill-Murphy (Terry), Elizabeth O'Neill. He is also survived by his sisters, Geraldine St. Marie and MaryAnne Williams; as well as nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
He was raised in San Mateo and graduated from St. Ignatius High School, San Francisco, in 1942. He worked his way through the University of San Francisco as a longshoreman on the San Francisco waterfront. Upon finishing his degree in Chemistry, he worked at Cal Tech under Professor Linus Pauling developing solid rocket fuels for Naval Ordinance. From there, while in the Army, he was assigned to the Army's project "Paper Clip", headed by Dr. Werner von Braun, in which he supervised many of the captured German scientists in the development of liquid rocket fluids—some of which are used today. He was a rocket scientist before the term was invented.
Following his Army service, Dr. O'Neill graduated from St. Louis Medical School in 1952. His internship was completed at the Los Angeles County Hospital and his surgical residency was completed at the Veterans Administration Hospital system. In 1960, he came to Salinas and joined Dr. Frank Wiebe and practiced for almost 40 years until his retirement in 1989. He was on the staff of the Natividad Medical Center and Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital. He was a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He was a member of the American Medical Association, California Medical Association, and the Monterey County Medical Society. He was a Director of the California Rodeo Association and its doctor for over a quarter century. Dr. O'Neill was thankful not only for the professional relationships with patients and colleagues but also for the lifelong friendships he cultivated. He was a member of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club for more than 40 years. He was a member of the Palma-Notre Dame High Schools Lay Board.
In retirement, he served on the Alzheimer's Board, with the American Red Cross, and was a member of both the Monterey County Civil and Criminal Grand Juries. But his greatest joy was with Kathy—traveling on over 20 cruises to many ports of call, all over the world.
And now he is on his final cruise to meet Kathy and to continue their greatest cruise together into eternity. He had an interesting life.
Visitation will be held Thursday, April 4, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Struve and Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis St., Salinas, CA 93901.
Rosary will follow at 7 p.m., at the Palma High School Edmund Rice Chapel, 919 Iverson St., Salinas, CA 93901.
Funeral Mass will be held Friday, April 5, 2013 at 11:00 a.m., at St. Joseph's Church, Railroad Avenue in Spreckels.
He will be laid to rest beside his beloved Kathy at Queen of Heaven Cemetery. Tom—Kathy is waiting for you.
Dr. O'Neill's family gratefully thanks Lee Fausto for his loving care of their father. As well, the family thanks the Monterey County Visiting Nurse Association and the Monterey County Hospice.
In lieu of any flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Palma or Notre Dame High Schools (Salinas), or St. Ignatius High School (San Francisco).
Arrangements by the Struve and Laporte Funeral Home. Online condolence www.struveandlaporte.com