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Robert E. O'NeillJuly 3, 2017
Robert E. O’Neill, 97, former owner and director of the O’Neill Funeral Home in Hancock for over fifty years, passed away on Monday, July 3, 2017 at U.P. Health System-Portage in Hancock.
He was born in Gering, Nebraska on April 19, 1920, son of the late Emmett C. and Catherine (Beakley) O’Neill. As a child he lived in South Range, Pontiac, and Corunna, MI. In 1934, the family returned to the Copper Country and made Hancock their home. Bob graduated from Hancock High School in 1938. He lettered in football and track and was president of the Hi Y Club. Before and after graduation, he worked at the Orpheum Theatre for 3 years and became manager. As a hobby in his senior year, Bob enjoyed entertaining with a self taught tap dance routine at school assembly programs and civic affairs in the community.
In 1941, he enlisted in the US Army Air Force and served during World War II in Europe. After his discharge in 1945, he joined his father as an apprentice mortician at the Memorial Chapel in Hancock. In 1946, he married Marie Gernes of Winona, MN. After graduating from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science in Milwaukee, they returned to Hancock where he established the O’Neill Funeral Home, a well known three generation family business. In 1985 he sold the business to Mark Dennis and he continued to work there for many more years before his retirement. It is now known as the O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home.
Bob was a member of the Church of the Resurrection and served on various committees, a Life Member of the Knights of Columbus Council #692, the Alfred Erickson Post #186 American Legion, past president of the Hancock Lions Club, former member of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association, the City of Hancock Housing Commission and Recreation Committees, and the Hancock School Board.
He was preceded in death by his wife Marie. He is survived by two sons, Jerry (Susan) O’Neill, Kirkland WA and Robert O’Neill, New York NY, daughter Jeanne (Dennis) Sutter, Bainbridge Island, WA, six grandchildren: Tim (Tina) O’Neill, Rob (Missy) O’Neill, , Keller O’Neill, Keli, Michael, and Ryan Sutter, and three great grandchildren, Jay and Mia O’Neill, and Meadowlark Sutter along with a sister, Pat O'Neill Couillard, and sister-in-law Ruth Stroble and daughters Patty and Terri.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 A.M. on Saturday at the Church of the Resurrection in Hancock with Rev. Fr. William Ssozi to officiate. Burial will be at Forest Hill Cemetery in Houghton where the Copper Country Veterans Association will conduct military honors.
Friends may call at the O'Neill-Dennis Funeral Home in Hancock from 4 until 7 P.M. on Friday. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the Church of the Resurrection, 900 Quincy Street, Hancock, MI 49930, Little Brothers~friends of the Elderly, 527 Hancock St., Hancock, Mi 49930, or charity of the donor's choice in the name of Robert E. O'Neill. To leave online condolences, please go to www.oneilldennisfh.com.