WEST FRANKFORT — Harold R. O’Neil died at 3:55 A.M., Friday, March 1 in Carbondale Memorial Hospital.
He was born Feb. 5, 1931, in West Frankfort, to Thomas Raymond (Ray) and Bertha (Boles) O’Neil.
Visitation will begin at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at John A. Logan College, Carterville, in O’Neil auditorium. Services will follow at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with the Rev. John Annabel from University Baptist Church officiating.
On Aug. 9, 1958, he married Marolyn Womack in Stonefort, and they shared 54 years together. She survives.
Other survivors include a son, Shawn, (Elizabeth) of Carbondale and two daughters, Shannon (Bill) Thomas of Taylorville, and Shara Maxwell (Jason Williscroft) of Chicago; six grandchildren, Kevin, Bryn and Morgan of Marion, Keegan and Hannah Murphy of Carbondale, and Hugo Garibaldi of Chicago; two great-granddaughters, and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, the Rev. Burdell O’Neil of Rock Falls and two sisters, Dimple Williams of West Frankfort and Evelyn LoBue of Chicago Heights.
After graduation from West Frankfort Community High School he served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1955. After the Army, he came back to study at SIU Carbondale and received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees there.
His career in education began as a junior high teacher at Carterville Elementary school in 1958. Harold spent a year in an internship in school administration at West Frankfort High School. In 1960 he came to Carbondale Community High School as a government teacher and freshman basketball coach. Later he became a guidance counselor, then principal and on to assistant superintendent.
In 1968 he was the fourth administrator hired at John A. Logan College as dean for student services, then became vice-president for instructional services and finally named JALC’s Fourth President in 1982. He retired at an early age to make sure he could finally get to fish all he wanted to, and indeed, one of his favorite activities was having groups of fishing buddies join him for a weekend at his home on Kentucky Lake.
Harold served on the board of directors for the Bank of Carbondale from 1988 to 2012. He provided leadership in many educational and civic organizations, mainly in Southern Illinois, and was well honored for his efforts. Harold was a 47-year member of the Carbondale Elks Club. He became very interested in helping promote the Southern Illinois Irish Festival after visiting his beloved Ireland on three different occasions.
His wish for all his friends and relatives would be, “May you have warm words on a cold evening, A full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door.”
Memorials may be made to the Harold and Marolyn O’Neil Scholarship Fund. Checks should be made to John A. Logan Foundation and sent to 700 Logan College Road, Carterville, IL 62918