John T. O’Neil

April 24, 2021

John T. O’Neil

John T. O’Neil – of Woburn, passed away peacefully on Apr. 24, 2021 at the age of eighty-six. Husband of sixty years to Helen (McDonald) O’Neil. Devoted and cherished uncle of Janine Andrews, her husband Donald of Shirley, Ken Steeves, his wife Brenda of Billerica, John Steeves of Woburn, Karen Chapley, her husband Jim of Eagan, MN, and the late Linda Rizk, her husband Nashaat of Pittsburgh, PA. Loved by his grandchildren and great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends.  Preceded in death by parents, John T. and Margaret O’Neil, sisters Elizabeth Lanigan, Jane Callahan, dear niece Linda Rizk and nephews James and Kevin Lanigan. Relatives and friends are invited to John’s Funeral Mass, Friday, April 30th at 10 a.m., in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn. Interment will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Winchester. Relatives and friends are invited to briefly pay their respects on Thursday, April 29th, from 4-7 p.m., in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main St., Woburn. All attending are asked to enter through the front door of the Funeral Home and exit through the back door. Masks MUST be worn at all times, along with strict adherence to social distancing.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made in John’s memory to a charity of one’s choice.

John T. O’Neil, a life-long Woburn resident who never lost an opportunity to talk about his beloved city, passed away peacefully, Apr. 24, 2021 at the age of eighty-six.

Born February 26, 1935 to John T. and Margaret O’Neil, John grew up in the south end and graduated from Woburn Senior High School in1952. Shortly thereafter he was hired by Boston Edison, where he worked for over 40 years, retiring in 1993. 

He met the love of his life, Helen (McDonald), while each was vacationing with friends at the Eastover Resort, in Lennox, Mass. They married in April 1961 and staying true to his Woburn roots, moved to a newly developed west-side neighborhood where he and Helen settled in to begin their life together.  They enjoyed traveling and socializing and the door was always open at the O’Neil’s as John made a point to make sure guests felt welcome anytime.

As it sometimes happens, life created an unexpected turn for the young couple after the deaths of both Helen’s sister and brother in-law.  Without hesitation, John and Helen took in her sisters five children ranging in ages from three to fifteen and were tasked with raising them as their own. To accommodate their newly acquired family, they moved back to John’s childhood home which was a bit larger than their west-side cape style house. Having five children delivered to your doorstep might have been a challenge, but John’s generous heart was always present as he navigated the intricacies of toddlers and teens alike. 

John was an avid storyteller whose interests revolved around history and making relevant connections to family, friends, and the city of Woburn.  This included tracing his genealogy, collecting postcards, attending antique shows, and traveling to historic sites, especially those involving the revolutionary war.  Family vacations always included a visit to a legendary battleground, museum, or historic home.  And if he knew of someone’s interest, even strangers, you could be assured that he would deliver a personal memento, likely a postcard or magnet of a postcard of a town, point of interest or hobby.  His ability to connect with people gave John the enviable gift of making friends wherever he went. It would not be unusual to be in a distant location and run into someone John knew.

John will be remembered for his great sense of humor and generosity by all who knew him. 

He was an adoring husband of sixty years to Helen (McDonald) O’Neil. Devoted and cherished uncle of Janine Andrews, her husband Donald of Shirley, Ken Steeves, his wife Brenda of Billerica, John Steeves of Woburn, Karen Chapley, her husband Jim of Eagan, MN, and the late Linda Rizk, her husband Nashaat of Pittsburgh, PA. Loved by his grandchildren and great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends.  Preceded in death by parents, John T. and Margaret O’Neil, sisters Elizabeth Lanigan, Jane Callahan, dear niece Linda Rizk and nephews James and Kevin Lanigan. 

Relatives and friends are invited to John’s Funeral Mass, Friday, April 30th at 10 a.m., in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn. Interment will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Winchester. Relatives and friends are invited to briefly pay their respects on Thursday, April 29th, from 4-7 p.m., in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main St., Woburn. All attending are asked to enter through the front door of the Funeral Home and exit through the back door. Masks MUST be worn at all times, along with strict adherence to social distancing. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in John’s memory to a charity of one’s choice.

Relatives and friends are invited to John’s Funeral Mass, Friday, April 30th at 10 a.m., in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn. Interment will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Winchester. Relatives and friends are invited to briefly pay their respects on Thursday, April 29th, from 4-7 p.m., in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main St., Woburn. All attending are asked to enter through the front door of the Funeral Home and exit through the back door. Masks MUST be worn at all times, along with strict adherence to social distancing. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in John’s memory to a charity of one’s choice.

Guestbook

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  1. Kathleen O'Doherty

    Dear O’Neil Family
    My deepest sympathy to you all during this difficult time.
    I enjoyed seeing Mr. O’Neil when he visited the Library. He often showed me and sometimes shared with me magnets with images from Woburn history and elsewhere. His visits were delightful and informative respites from the workday.
    Kathy O’Doherty

  2. Robert Jamieson

    Dear Helen: I was so sorry to hear about John’s passing. My prayers will be for your strength and for the day you’ll be reunited with him. Love, Bob Jamieson

  3. Dear Mrs. O’Neil, I am so very sorry to hear of Mr. O’Neil’s passing. He was a wonderful, kind, happy, person to be around. I got to meet your wonderful husband during cleaning duty at your home. He shall be missed by many. My prayers to you and your family. I will always remember his pride of Woburn. A wonderful, wonderful gentleman.

  4. Dear Helen and Family,
    My family and I want to express our deepest sympathy on the death of John. We go back many years, and enjoyed many good times together. Fred and I always enjoyed your visits. We always enjoyed a few laughs, and we all were amazed at the knowledge John had of the City of Woburn. Always remember I’m just a phone call away, if you need anything or just want to talk. We are truly sorry for your loss.
    Love and Prayers.
    Jean and Family

  5. Dear Helen, I am very sorry to hear of John’s passing. Growing up across from you on Mayflower Rd, I still have fond memories of when I cut through his yard as a young boy and he would light heartedly call me out on my tresspassing. All in good fun of course. Again, I am sorry for your loss.

  6. John M. Quinno

    Dear Helen,
    I’ve missed John over the past few years. I always will remember the good times we had; so many Woburn High School games, so many B.C. games and some great road trips to Penn State, etc. I could always count on him for a laugh and a good discussion and his generosity.
    With deepest sympathy,
    Bucky and Lee

  7. Michael & Julie Maher

    Helen & Family, so sorry to hear about John’s passing. I remember him from Mayflower Road as a youngster. And it was always interesting to run into him somewhere in the City of Woburn. We have magnets and postcards of Woburn sites thanks to John. Julie always spoke with John as she left the St Charles School when he would be out in the yard. He was always pleasant and fun to say “hi” to. His pleasant personality will be missed. We will keep you all in our prayers.

  8. Helen and family
    We were so sorry to hear about the passing of John. You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.

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