William A. O'Neil, CAPT (Ret. USN)
June 8, 1933 – June 14, 2020
William A. O’Neil, CAPT (Ret), U.S. Navy and Civilian Doctor passed from this world on June 14, 2020. He was the son of William D. and Catherine A. (Murphy) O’Neil. He was born on June 8, 1933 in Brockton, and spent his early years growing up on Nantucket and in Falmouth, MA. Dr. O’Neil attended high school in Franklin, MA, graduating in the class of 1950. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1954 and was awarded a Masters degree in organic chemistry in 1960, both from Boston College.
Bill met Marilyn Fitzgerald while they were both students at BC. He reported that as soon as he saw her, he knew she was “the one.” They were married shortly after Dr. O’Neil received his Masters degree from BC and together they raised three children: Elizabeth (Steve), Liam (Debbie) and Brendan (Sarah). He graduated from Harvard Medical School (1964) and went on to pursue his interests in ophthalmology and ultimately neurology.
Dr. O’Neil practiced neurology in a variety of settings, including private practice and in the military. While in the Navy, he was transferred in 1989 from the Naval Hospital in Newport, RI to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan. Bill felt his time in Japan to be one of the most exciting and stimulating periods of his life. He immersed himself in learning the language and culture, which continued long after he returned to his home in South Dartmouth, MA.
Bill was constantly curious about the world around him and would research topics that interested him, particularly the natural world, the sciences, and languages. He taught himself to sail and enjoyed sailing in his Beetle Cat on Narragansett Bay, and later, Buzzards Bay. He learned to speak Portuguese in order to better communicate with his patients in New Bedford and learned some Japanese while living in Japan. He continued to sharpen his skills by watching Brazilian and Japanese television with language dictionaries at his elbow. He was fascinated by astronomy and sometimes entertained the idea of moving to Arizona where the lack of light pollution allows for study of the night sky. He and Marilyn enjoyed traveling together, particularly around Japan where they would explore the culture, language, and customs of the communities they visited.
Bill was kind and generous, always wanting to take care of others’ needs before his own. He was strongly principled with a clear sense of right and wrong. He was easily able to reconcile his faith in science with his spirituality; his Catholic faith grounded him and gave him comfort throughout his life. His work ethic combined with his unexpectedly dry sense of humor were wonderful to witness.
Dr. O’Neil is predeceased by his wife, Marilyn. In addition to his children and their spouses, those who love him include his grandchildren Kevin, Molly, Conor and Emeline, and his sisters Anne Madaus and Trisha Foley and their families. Dr. O’Neil’s services are private and under the direction of WARING-SULLIVAN at DARTMOUTH, 230 Russells Mills Rd., Dartmouth. For online tribute/directions www.waring-sullivan.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to www.Jesuits.org or Coastline Elderly to support Meals on Wheels www.coastlinenb.org.
William A. O'Neil, CAPT (Ret. USN)
Jo Ann Cairns-Silva
June 22, 2020
One of the most kindest doctors I ever worked with. Such compassion and so humble. Rest In Peace Dr. O’Neil. My condolences to the family
June 20, 2020
I absolutely thought the WORLD of Bill. Such a kind, intelligent, humble, compassionate person. So very sorry to learn of his passing. He was just the best. I really treasure the memories of working with him at the Paul A. Dever State School. Rest in peace, dear friend.