Kathleen Anne O'Neill
December 19, 1952 – July 3, 2020
Freeport, Maine: Kathleen Anne O'Neill, (who, according to her brother Jim, was a free-spirit that people tried to cage, but in the end, she won), died on July 3rd, 2020 at Sedgewood Common in Falmouth, Maine due to COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s.
Kathy was born December 19, 1952, at Ft. MacArthur Army Hospital in Downey, California, the 1st child of Phyllis Jean Dunton and George Albert O'Neill. She grew up being an Army brat who lived all over the world from California, Virginia, Italy, The Azores, to Texas, and back to California before the family finally settled in Calais, Maine during the mid 60's when her dad returned from his 2nd tour in Vietnam and retired. She graduated in 1971 from Calais Memorial High School. The next year she attended Holy Rosary Commercial School in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, learning secretarial skills, and graduating with an Associates in 1972. In the fall of 1973, she married Jeff George in Princeton, Maine. She got a part-time job tending the first "pump-your-own gas station" in Calais when gas sold for $.19/gallon, and then at the Mammoth Mart when it arrived in town. Jeff and Kathy eventually divorced and Kathy moved to Southern Maine.
In 1977, Kathy met Mulcogi Seng at the natural foods restaurant that she was working at in Maine. He was selling ginseng and Chinese medicines that Kathy really liked. She decided to join Mulcogi delivering these products to health food stores throughout New England and upstate New York. In September 1979 they welcomed their daughter Barekah Maya. They soon moved to Lancaster, NH where they operated The Ginseng House, Pleasant Prospect Market, and White Mountain Victuals, a vegetarian restaurant. Kathy's quiche was legendary among local diners! It was during this period that Kathy met the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa of Tibet, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism. In March of 1982 they were blessed with the birth of their son Joshu Keena. In 1983, Mulcogi and Kathy parted ways with Kathy remaining in the Lancaster, NH area. This is where she met Dennis Bona, a ski patrolman and instructor at Burke Mountain in Vermont, and joined Dennis in running his laundromat. Soon they were married and with the 2 kids, they headed for Maine where they first lived for a summer in a campground near Christmas Cove In South Bristol. The family had many great adventures together, Hiking, Camping, Sailing and Dennis even taught them to downhill ski, which lasted until Kathy broke her leg. Kathy had many talents and had spent years trying to find a career that would provide for her family, while utilizing her many skills. She started out unloading fishing boats but soon worked her way into the office running the books at a small fishing plant in South Bristol. She soon found herself applying to LL Bean for a warehouse Returns Processing job. On Halloween in 1988 dressed in a scary goulish punk rocker costume, she began a career that would span 20 years and countless positions at L.L.Bean in Freeport.
Dennis and Kathy eventually divorced in 1991, and went about their lives separately until life would eventually reconnect them and he rejoined Kathy and the kids as they moved to Popham in September of 1993. It was here that her youngest daughter Kelci Rane was born.
The following year, Kathy would move to Freeport where she and the family would finally settle. She could build a home to call their own, and give her kids the stability she didn’t have growing up as an army brat, This was something she was forever thankful for.
Kathy's three children were her world, she was forever bragging to anyone who would listen about their latest achievements!
She found her stride while putting her customer service and secretarial skills to work as an L.L.Bean Returns Customer Service representative. She was always the best ambassador and spokeswoman for the company, living and breathing the #BeanDNA. She was as responsible for stoping many theft rings, and saving the company thousands of dollars, so it was no surprise to anyone that in 1996 she was nominated for L.L. Bean’s highest internal honor, the Bean’s Best award! She received her 20-year milestone in 2008 and retired in the spring of 2009.
Within months of retiring, she was finally able to focus on her failing health, and was soon diagnosed with Lupus along with other numerous issues including Renaud's, RA, Neuropathy, and—most critically—Dementia.
She enjoyed her trips "down east" to see family and attend class reunions. It was at a reunion in 2010 when she reconnected with a classmate and gifted him a high school pen/ink sketch she'd held on to for 40+ yrs. that he had done for their class play: The Hobbit. She was the queen of memorabilia! With a material stash that included yards and yards of fabric, dresses, jeans, and her favorite hand stitched/patched bellbottoms from her high school years. She loved to sew and quilt and turn old clothing/tee-shirts into blankets or quilts to decorate beds and keep everyone warm.
She still had regular trips to her "happy place" at the ocean in the Popham Beach area. Whether it was walking the beach looking for shells, strolling out to Fox Island at low tide, or poking around the Fort she consistently found joy and peace at the seaside. She loved to go out to eat, especially with her girls on Mother’s Day always enjoying the Fried Clams, and clam cakes at Ken’s Place in Scarborough! Kathy always had a sweet tooth and enjoyed cookies of all kinds, and any variation of mint ice cream! She was an avid gardener, and loved to show you her flowers and vegetable and herb gardens. She and Dennis would spend most evenings watching TV, especially her favorites The Big Bang Theory and MASH.
Music was another of Kathy’s passions so it was no surprise to see or hear her rocking out to any of the old classics you would hear on 102.9WBLM her favorite radio channel. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Santana, The Eagles, the Doors, you never change the channel on mom when her music was playing!!
Recent winters were not kind to Kathy, a couple of falls on the ice resulted in some broken bones. However, she was always one who was up for any adventure or to just “get off the hacienda”. She managed a daily walk up to Doherty's North Freeport Store or out to get the mail. Yard-sales on Saturday mornings, with her friend Sue were always a favorite outing.
She was predeceased by her parents, her younger brother Daniel O'Neill and her sister-in-law Glennis O'Neill, as well as her first husband, Jeff George. She leaves behind her daughter Barekah Fisher and partner Michael Lewis of Gray, Maine; her son Joshu Fisher of Baltimore, Maryland; daughter Kelci O'Neill of Freeport, Maine; her brother James O'Neill as well as nephew Calvin Walker both of Calais, Maine; her ex-husband Dennis Bona of Freeport, Maine, Mulcogi Seng of Sierra Vista, Arizona; and numerous cousins, and friends. Kathy often said: “When the going gets tough, the tough go to the Beach!” “If it’s not one thing, it’s your Mother!” "Love many, trust few, but always paddle your own canoe! And don't be a patoot!"
The family will find a time in the near future, to gather and celebrate her life once it is safe to do so. In the meantime, she will be interred with her parents at the South Street Cemetery in Calais, Maine.
The family would like to thank the staff at Sedgewood Commons for the loving care they provided to Kathy for the past 3 1/2 months. Donations in her memory may be made to Maine Alzheimer's Association, 383 US Route One, Suite 2C, Scarborough, ME 04074. Please send flowers/cards/messages of condolence:
Barekah Fisher PO Box 585 Gray, Me 04039
Joshu Fisher 3911 Foster St Baltimore, Md 21224
Kelci O’ Neill 5 Reaves lane Freeport, Me 04032
Jim O’NeiIl 39 Brogden Rd Calais, Me 04619
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Kathleen Anne O'Neill
July 14, 2020
I have many fun memories of Kathy from working with her for years at LLBean. She was a fun co worker. She was so proud of her kids. She will be very miss by family and friends. RIP Kathy
July 13, 2020
I have many happy memories of working with Kathy at LL Bean. Always a joy to see her smile and cheery attitude. Always full of life and laughter.