John H. O'Neil, retired presiding judge of the second District Court in Fall River, passed away Monday, August 19, 2013 at Southcoast Hospital in Fall River. Born and raised in St. Peter and Paul's Parish, he was a lifelong resident of the City. He was the husband of the late Pauline Gallant O'Neil, the son of the late Henry F. and Margaret Conroy O'Neil; and brother of the late Francis J. O'Neil, the late Margaret Crowley, and the late Kathleen Liberi. Before his appointment to the bench (by former Governor Edward King), Judge O'Neil practiced law in Fall River for twenty seven years. Along with his Partnership with John F. O'Donoghue, in the firm of O'Donoghue and O'Neil, he was a special assistant attorney general, and prior to these positions he was an assistant superior court magistrate. His dedication to the law was matched by his dedication to his community through his long time active involvement with the Boys and Girls Club of Fall River, and his former service as a city councilor.
Among his many interests, were his lengthy membership in the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, his devotion to golf and the Mountaup Country Club stands out. His faith was a great comfort to him, particularly in the more challenging recent years. He raised his family in Sacred Heart Parish, after that became a parishioner of Holy Name Parish. In acknowledgement of his legal accomplishments and his religious faith, he was awarded the Thomas More Medal by the Fall River Diocese. He graduated from Providence College and Suffolk University Law School. His greatest loves were his late wife Pauline, and his family, which includes seven children, eight grandchildren, two sons-in-law, and two daughters –in-law. His most obvious attributes were his enduring will, his commitment to fairness, and his willingness to sacrifice all for his family. He will be missed.
He is survived by his daughters Attorney Mary O'Neil of Fall River, Dr. Margaret O'Neil of Philadelphia, Polly Feitelberg and her husband John along with their children John Henry, Hannah, Ben, and Paulina, all of Fall River; and Kate Genthner and her husband Scot of Fairhaven. He is also survived by his sons the Honorable John C. O'Neil, Clerk Magistrate of the Fall River District Court and his wife JoAnne of Fall River, along with their children Leah Rachael, and John Andrew; Brian O'Neil and his wife Lori, along with their daughter Annie, all of Dartmouth; Brendan O'Neil of Salt Lake City, Utah. He is also survived by his sisters Grace Edwards of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Cornelia Gallant of Fall River, as well as many nieces and nephews.
His Funeral will be held Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 9:00AM from the WARING-SULLIVAN HOME OF MEMORIAL TRIBUTE at CHERRY PLACE, 178 Winter St., Fall River, followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:00AM in Holy Name Church, 709 Hanover St., Fall River. Visiting hours Wednesday from 4:00 to 8:00PM. Contributions in his honor may be made to the Thomas Chew Memorial Boys and Girls Club of Fall River, 803 Bedford St. Fall River, MA. 02720. Burial in St. Patrick Cemetery, Fall River.