BEDFORD - Hugh R. "Dewey" O'Neil, 71, of Bedford, died peacefully Jan. 3, 2013, at Catholic Medical Center, surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Manchester on Oct. 15, 1941, the son of Catherine (Thornton) O'Neil and Hugh R. O'Neil, the late, longtime editor of the Union Leader.
He was educated in the local school system, graduating from Bishop Bradley in 1959. He attended St. Mary's College in Halifax, Canada, and earned his bachelor's degree (by the skin of his teeth) from St. Anselm College in 1964.
He graduated from Officer Candidate School and served during the Vietnam War
. During the war, at the ripe old age of 24, he led young men he referred to as "kids" as a Marine Corps engineer, alternatively building and blowing up bridges. He earned two Purple Heart
s, and the pride he felt being a Marine was one he carried with him all his days.
Dewey was owner and operator of the Hugh R. O'Neil Real Estate Company for many years. In his 30 years of service, his gift of gab and persuasive ways helped him raise millions of dollars on behalf of Easter Seals. He was also involved in Catholic Charities as well as serving as the commander in chief of the now-defunct Bedford chapter of the IRA.
He will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend who will be greatly missed. His sense of humor is legendary to all who knew him, and has been passed down to at least two surviving generations.
Family members include his wife of 47 years, Joan (Thornton) O'Neil of Bedford; two sons, Hugh "DJ" O'Neil and wife Renee of San Francisco; Michael O'Neil of Lebanon; one daughter, Erin Hendrick and husband Greg of Newton, Mass.; four grandchildren, Finn and Macie O'Neil of San Francisco, Jack and Ryan Hendrick of Newton, Mass.; one sister, Mary Alice Venuto and husband Lou of Potomac, Md.; many cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends. He was predeceased by his brother, Thomas O'Neil in 2011.
services: Calling hours at Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory, 1799 Elm St., corner of North Street, will be Sunday, Jan. 6 from 4 to 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday, Jan. 7, at 10 a.m. in St. Elizabeth Seton Church, Meetinghouse Road, Bedford. Burial with military honors will follow in the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery, Boscawen.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Easter Seals of New Hampshire, 555 Auburn St., Manchester 03103 or to the Santa Fund, care of the New Hampshire Union Leader, P.O. Box 9555, Manchester 03908.
To send a message of condolence, please go to lambertfuneralhome.com