Jimmy was born on July 16, 1922, in Cambridge MA; he was the son of the late John and Margaret O’Neil. James was raised and educated in Somerville and was always proud of his Irish Heritage. He enlisted in the United States Coast Guard on November 3, 1942 during WWII. One of James’s responsibilities for the Coast Guard was to train dogs for Military purposes; James was very passionate about his job and it led to a life-long love of dogs. James was honorably discharged on January 17, 1946 and returned home to his family. Upon his return to Somerville, James immediately joined the American Legion Post 19 and became very involved in the Post moving up the ranks and becoming the Commander for several years.
Jimmy married his “sweetheart” Jean George in 1942 sharing 65 years together before her passing in 2007. The couple lived in Somerville for many years where they raised four wonderful daughters; Marianne, Beverly, Donna, and Debbie. Jimmy worked very hard to provide for his family and they had many great times throughout the years. Prior to retiring, James worked as a truck driver for Teamsters Unions Local 25 in Charlestown.
Jimmy O loved a “good party” where he could cook up a storm and entertain for his family and friends. He loved all kinds of music and was quite a dancer; he and his wife Jean could float across the floor doing a waltz or switch gears to a fast paced jitterbug, they were always impressive to watch as they danced together.
Jimmy was an avid golfer who got a “hole in one” when he was well into his 80’s and also loved to follow Boston Sports teams.
Jimmy also enjoyed the years he spent in Florida or at Old Orchard Beach in Maine where he made countless friends who became extended family.
Jimmy will be fondly remembered as a wonderful guy who could be gruff on the exterior but had a heart of gold and would literally give you the shirt off his back. James was a wonderful son, brother, uncle, husband, father, grandfather, and a true friend to many; he will be greatly missed but would want everyone to dry their tears and celebrate his life; a life well lived.
Jimmy was the beloved husband of the late Jean M. (George) O’Neil, devoted father of Beverly Childers & her husband Frank of Stoneham, Madonna Toto & her husband Michael of Wilmington, Deborah Picardi & her late husband Gino of Indialantic, FL, and the late Marianne O’Neil. Loving Grandfather of Cathy-Jean LeBel & her companion Sean Cunningham, Frankie & Kim Childers, Stephen & Daniela Barresi, David Barresi, Rebecca Caples & her companion Rob Russo, Geno Picardi, Amanda Picardi, and Great-Grandchildren Emma, Bryan, Noah, Cole, Stefano, Bianca, Ava, Mia, Domenic, David, and Stella. Cherished son of the late John and Margaret (Sheehan) O’Neil, dear brother of the late Peggy Vadaro, Catherine, Mary, John, Eugene, and Danny O’Neil. James is also survived by his sister-in-law Lillian O’Neil of Medford as well as many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Saturday, July 9th for Visitation from 10:00-11:45 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian burial in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 12:00 noon. Interment with Military Honors will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. In lieu of flowers donations in James’ memory may be made to Little Sisters of the Poor, 186 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143.