Dennis J. O'Neal


Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2002

Kenai resident Dennis J. O'Neal died Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2002, surrounded by his family and friends at his home. He was 64.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. today at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Kenai.

Viewing will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Sister Joyce Ross will officiate. A funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Holyoke, Colo. Burial will follow the service at Holyoke Memorial Park.

Mr. O'Neal was born Dec. 24, 1937, in Holyoke, Colo., to Maurine and James O'Neal. He was the youngest of three children. He attended Holyoke schools through the 11th grade and graduated from North High School in Phoenix in 1955.

From there, he went to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., where he was active in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and a member of the Air Force ROTC. He graduated in 1959, with a bachelor's degree in agronomy. Following his college graduation, he returned to Holyoke, where he was a successful, innovative farmer for almost 40 years.

In May 1962, he married Carolyn Faye Jones Precht at Our Lady of the Mountains in Estes Park, Colo. He adopted Carolyn's three children, Mary, Barbara and Rupert. The couple later had two additional sons, Shawn and James.

While in Holyoke, Mr. O'Neal was involved in many community activities. He served as director on several boards, including the Holyoke Co-op, the Phillips County Telephone Co., and the Pioneer National Bank. He was also an active leader of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, serving in many capacities.

He and his wife, Carolyn, retired from farming in 1996 and moved to Kenai, where he lived until his death.

During his years in Kenai, Mr. O'Neal was an active member of Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Kenai. He also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and served on the board of directors for the Peninsula Oilers baseball team.

Mr. O'Neal's special interests included hunting, fishing, traveling, reading, baseball and going to the "office," which meant checking the stock market quite often. He also enjoyed playing bridge and other card games.

His family said, "Dennis was a good father to five very unique and often challenging children. He encouraged them to be strong and independent people. No one was a stranger to Denny. He quietly shared his gifts to help many fulfill their dreams."

Mr. O'Neal was preceded in death by his wife, Carolyn.

He is survived by his five children, Mary O'Neal of Ridgecrest, Calif., Barbara Heath and her husband, Walter, of Simi Valley, Calif., Rupert O'Neal and his wife, Claire, of Holyoke, Colo., Shawn O'Neal and his wife, Kristi, of Evergreen, Colo., James O'Neal and his wife, Moira, of San Carlos, Calif.; grandchildren, Katiana Rush, Jordin and Adam Heath, Jake, Robin and Emily O'Neal, Kelsey and Denton O'Neal, Catherine Carolyn O'Neal and another grandchild due in 2003; sister, Helen Schwisow of Sterling, Colo.; and sister-in-law, Virginia Billings of Greeley, Colo.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 2113, Kenai, AK 99611.

Arrangements are being made with Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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