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Bruce C. O'Neill


1942 - 2016 Notice Condolences
Bruce C. O'Neill Notice
O'Neill, Bruce C. We lost a great one on September 3, 2016, when Bruce passed away due to complications from ALS. The end was serene and peaceful. Bruce made his own choices until the very last, and was surrounded by his loving family when he said goodbye. Born March 31, 1942 in Milwaukee, Bruce leaves behind his beloved wife of 32 years, Priscilla ("Peppy"), and a phalanx of notable children: Mike (Anne), Matt (Shannon), Jennifer (Doug) Sveda, Andy (Sarah), Hugh (Jennifer), Miles (Lauren), and Kate; and engaging grandchildren: Claire, Mary, Michael, Audrey, Sylvie, Daphne, Emily, Megan, Grace, Margaret, Genevieve, Rosemary, Casey, Jack, Cairin ("Rinn"), Sadie, Tony and Cal. Each one was a perfect Honeycrisp apple in his twinkling eye. Bruce is also survived by his sisters, Maureen (Bill) Hilbert, and Sheila (late Jim) Kintzele, and many loving cousins, nieces, nephews, and legions of friends. His parents Charles and Mary predeceased Bruce, as did his younger brother Kevin. Bruce graduated from St. Sebastian's grade school, Marquette University High School, the University of Notre Dame, and Marquette University Law School. After clerking for Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice George Currie, Bruce was an Assistant District Attorney under David Cannon and E. Michael McCann, who called him the best brief writer he'd ever seen. In private practice, Bruce was a trial attorney of the highest caliber, as feared by opponents as he was loved by his clients. He left his indelible mark and strong Irish name on a great Milwaukee firm, Fox, O'Neill & Shannon, S.C. Bruce loved the law beyond measure because it instilled order and fairness in our daily lives. He relished the daily encounter with others who believed in jurisprudence of the highest order, particularly his office colleagues and the members of Serjeants Inn, a group of lawyers and judges who meet weekly for lunch and a member presentation. Bruce's annual speech would draw the biggest crowds, who were assured of colorful stories, perhaps a dash of history (as in his presentation on the splendid murals in the County Courthouse), and perfect comic timing. Recognized for decades as a Super Lawyer, in 2014 Bruce was honored by the Wisconsin Law Journal as a Leader in the Law. Truly, he was. Bruce performed prodigious amounts of pro bono work, helping all who asked. He volunteered as counsel to the St. Vincent De Paul Society, where his father Charles served for 45 years as Executive Secretary. Bruce served on the boards of Adoption Resources of Wisconsin, Catholic School Services, Harambee House, Historic Milwaukee, and the Marquette Law School Advisory Board. He was a past President of the St. Sebastian's Parish Home & School Association, and co-chaired the Marquette University High School Auction. Bruce's passions included the Milwaukee Braves and Brewers, poetry, classical literature, the fine arts, devouring the daily paper, and private philanthropy. Bruce was a founding member of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association and never missed the dinners, which featured his County Stadium heroes recounting their days of glory. Bruce attended countless Brewers games at Miller Park, filled with hope, and never missed Opening Day. Bruce was a delighted season ticket holder for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the Milwaukee Symphony, and UWM Panther Basketball. One year, Bruce and his pal Dan Madigan bid on an appearance on the "Murphy Brown Show" and won. They trooped out to L.A. and (thanks to MUHS alum Peter Bonerz) were seated in a prime spot next to Candice Bergen in one episode. A lively viewing party at Turner Hall ensued upon their return. Bruce was a gifted orator. His speeches were legendary. From firm outings, family Christmases, weddings (he married dozens of couples as a Court Commissioner), birthdays to dinner parties, Bruce never failed to dazzle: the booming baritone, literary references, perfect timing, and wit. His Christmas toast about how he fell asleep counting, instead of sheep, his children and where they went to school, reflected perfectly his love of family and zest for education. Bruce loved living in the City of Milwaukee and was especially proud to have lived in the Washington Heights for the past 44 years. He was a founding member of the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association. Bruce loved trick or treating with costumed grandchildren for the annual Heights Halloween Spooktacular. Bruce lived out a lifelong dream of travelling to Greece last year to trace the ancient Greeks and their fascinating culture. Bruce's legacy includes The Wicked Hop, the best bar and restaurant in the Third Ward. Sons Andy and Miles had the crazy idea of opening a bar, and Bruce made it happen, believing in them and their shared vision. The Hop sign this past weekend read: "The House That Bruce O'Neill Built." It is a family business that all 33 of us take great pride in. A visitation will be held at the Funeral Home on Friday, September 9 from 4 to 7 PM. Additional visitation will take place on Saturday, September 10 at St. Sebastian Church, Milwaukee (55th & Washington Blvd.) from 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 3 PM. Relatives and friends are welcome to join the family on Monday, September 12 for a 10AM committal service at Holy Cross Cemetery's west chapel, Milwaukee (7301 W. Nash Street). (Please note the change of time). Bruce's children and grandchildren would like to forever thank Peppy for the tremendous love and fortitude she showed taking care of Bruce through the awful spiral of Lou Gehrig's Disease. In lieu of (or addition to) flowers, please donate in Bruce's name to the ALS Association Wisconsin Chapter, 3333 N. Mayfair Rd. Suite 104, Wauwatosa, WI 53222. There is a cure out there, and we will find it.
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Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Sept. 7 to Sept. 10, 2016
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