Dr. Richard "Dick" O'Neal was one the most acclaimed athletes in TCU history and was the first basketball player to have his jersey honored in 2010.Read More
But Dr. O"Neal also treated countless patients as a Fort Worth dentist and,orthodontist.
Dr. O'Neal died in his sleep Tuesday at his home in Parker County. He is believed to have died from an aneurism, Gayle O"Neal said.
While many remembered Dr. O'Neal for his athletic accomplishments, he was also remembered for leading the Fort Worth ISD board through a difficult transition when it hired Carl Candoli as the first superintendent from outside of the district. He was school board president from 1978 until he resigned on January 13, 1987.
"There had been a good ol' boy network and that got broken up by going outside and bringing in Carl Candoli," said former school board president Mollie Lasater, who was board vice president when Dr. O'Neal was board president.
"He was just someone you greatly admired," Lasater said. "You always felt he was true to his word. He was never duplicitous or political."
School board trustee and former school board president T.A. Sims was first elected to the board when Dr. O'Neal was board president. He said Dr. O'Neal's focus was always on improving the education of schoolchildren and that he helped restore trust.
"I think we had some things that reflected mismanagement and he was instrumental in really gaining the confidence of the community again," Sims said.
Dr. O'Neal first made his mark as an athlete at Poly High school, where they were state champs in basketball in 1952 and lost in the semifinals the next year. He also played baseball when Poly won the state title in 1953. He went on to gain accolades at TCU.
Dr. O'Neal was born Sept. 7, 1935 in Dallas.
He would graduate from Poly High School in 1953 and then would attend TCU, where he would graduate in 1957. He would marry his wife, Gayle Scott, on July 5, 1957, at the East Dallas Christian Church in Dallas.
In 1957, he also started school at the Baylor College of Dentistry, where he would graduate in 1962. He then spent two years in the Army before returning to Fort Worth to start his dentistry practice.
After practicing as a dentist for four years, Dr. O'Neal sold his practice and went to the Baylor College of Dentistry to become an orthodontist.,br>
While he was a regular at TCU's basketball games and other university-related events, Dr. O'Neal downplayed his athletic accomplishments. But he was thrilled when TCU honored him in 2010.
"He was floored and humbled and excited for his kids and grand kids to be there," Gayle O'Neal said.
Survivors include three sons, Scott O'Neal of Aledo, Matt O'Neal of Fort Worth and Patrick O'Neal of North Richland Hills, one daughter, Lisa Hughes of Fort Worth, 13 grandchildren.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Christ Chapel Bible Church, 3701 Birchman Ave., in Fort Worth. Visitation will be held from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the Harveson-Cole Funeral Home, 702 8th Avenue, in Fort Worth.
Memorials: Global Ministries Foundation, Hyderabad, India. c/o box 1150 Cordova, Tenn. 38088-1150.
On memo line: In memory of Dr. Richard O'Neal. The donation will go to support Rev. Edgar Sathuluri, founder of Native Ministries.