Feb. 13, 1926 - Aug. 31, 2013
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Long time Dixon resident and educator, Wesley McCutcheon O'Neill, 90, died Aug. 31, surrounded by his family and friends at home in Dixon.
Wes was born on Feb. 13, 1923 in Taft, Calif, to James and Ethel O'Neill. He graduated from college at UC Berkeley. Wes missed an opportunity to play pro baseball with the Boston Red Sox to serve in the Marine Corps during World War II in the South Pacific.
Wes married Grace in 1947, and in 1949 they moved to Dixon where he was hired "on the spot" as a high school teacher. Mr. O'Neill fondly called "Papa Bear", taught biology, chemistry, physics, and photography at Dixon High School before becoming a guidance counselor, vice principal, and principal of the High School and then CA Jacobs Intermediate School. Every Friday night during football season he would climb to the roof of the grandstands at the fairgrounds to film the Dixon High Rams. Upon his retirement in 1984 Wes served two terms on the school board.
Wes was a member of Rotary, the Masons and involved in countless activities in the community, especially to promote reading as he considered it the fundamental step on the path to greater knowledge. Among other notable achievements, he was Dixon "Citizen of the Year" for 1984, and a dedicated, frequent blood donor. He played tennis almost daily well into his 80s.
Wes and Grace spent many summers at their Dubois, Wyoming vacation cabin. Wes was a sought-after tennis partner with the locals there, once sharing the court with Ilie Nastase.
Wes is survived by his wife of 66 1/2 years, Grace; son, Steve of Dixon; son, Rick and wife Judy of Dixon, and grandsons, Dean of McKinleyville, Rustin of Sacramento and Louis of Dixon.
Private Family services will be held.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Wes O'Neill Memorial Fund, at First Northern Bank 195 N. First St., Dixon, CA.
An open house reception will be held at a future venue to be announced for those who wish to condole and honor the life of "Wes" aka "Papa Bear".
Published in The Reporter on Sept. 8, 2013