Stephen O'Neill, 69 years old, a Willits resident for 37 years, died on Monday, November 7, 2011, at his Pine Mountain home surrounded by family and friends.
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He is survived by his children: Stephen Jr, Richard; Dev, Danielle, Forest, and Karl Bertelson. He leaves behind many brothers and sisters: Theresa, Michael, Elizabeth, Cathy, Chamae, Mark, Gerard, Maggie, George, Tom and Sky. Stephen was happy to have his granddaughter Kimberly and her young children in his life.
He had numerous nephews and nieces who loved and adored him. In Willits, nieces Jennifer and Olivia, and nephews Lucas and EJ will miss him dearly.
At his side throughout was his companion and dear friend, Anna Alvarado, who helped him throughout his illness. He left behind his beloved dog, Maple.
Stephen was an avid horticulturist, who generously shared his time and knowledge. He loved ocean fishing, the 49ers and going to Giants games with his son, Karl. He loved traveling and visited Japan, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, St. Croix, Germany and France. Among his highlights was a trip to Denver during the Democratic Convention as an Obama supporter. He was a passionate Democratic, who loved watching Rachel Maddow and Kieth Olberman.
He played football at St. Mary's High School in Phoenix where he was raised. He majored in English literature at Diablo Valley College, where he graduated with honors. He was an outspoken advocate for human rights for people of color, gay marriage, and the rights of sick to natural medicines.
It was his love of gardening for which he was well known to his many friends. His sister Maggie, of Willits, noted: "Stephen was man of his word. It was in his nature to be kind and generous which made him a trusted friend to so many." Another sister Catherine remembers, "Stephen was always willing to help where he could."
Stephen was a guide to his family, generous and kind, cleared-eyed and true to the end.
All are welcome to share in a pot luck celebration of his life this Sunday, November 13, at 2 p.m. at Stephen's property.
Published in Willits News from Nov. 11 to Dec. 11, 2011