Robert O’Neil, 92, of Coal Center, West Pike Run Township, entered eternal life and surrounded by his family, Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at his home.
He was born November 2, 1923 in Roscoe, a son of Nixon P. and Bertha Gollick O’Neil and resided in the Mon Valley area most of his life.
He was a graduate of California High School with the class of 1941.
On January 3, 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He attained the rank of sergeant and machine gun squad leader of the famous Edson’s Raiders, who were the first American troops, along with the First Marine Division to engage the Japanese Imperial Army on August 7, 1942.
Sgt. O’Neil participated in many battles in the Solomon Islands and the South Pacific, including Tulagi, Guadalcanal, Emirau and Guam. He was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citation, American Theater Operations Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with three battle stars, Combat Action Ribbon and World War II Victory Medal.
After returning from overseas duty, he was a drill instructor at Parris Island Marine Center until his discharge.
Mr. O’Neil retired after 35 years of service from Proctor & Gamble, where he worked as a sales representative.
He was very active in the community and served as tax collector for West Pike Run Township for 43 years.
He was a founding member of Grace United Methodist Church, Coal Center, where he served as the finance chairman of the building committee when the church was built.
In his younger years, Mr. O’Neil was very active with the Boys Scouts of America, Clover Hill troop and served as scout master for many years.
His hobbies included collecting antique Packards and golf.
His wife, Doris Donaldson O’Neil, passed away October 6, 2006.
Surviving are his daughter, Patricia O’Neil Wilson (William) and Jack O’Neil (Darlene), all of Coal Center; grandchildren, Mark A. Faieta (Cindy) and Beth Ann O’Neil; great-grandchildren, Kacee L. Caster and Christine M. Goodwin; special friend, Rosella DuBarr; step-grandson, William Wilson (Vicki) and three step-great-grandsons.
Deceased is his sister, Betty O’Neil Lindsay.
Friends are welcome from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Thompson-Marodi Funeral Home, Inc., 809 Main Street, Bentleyville, and from 10:30 to 11 a.m., Saturday, April 16, the hour of a service, at the Grace United Methodist Church, 420 California Drive, Coal Center with Pastor Ken Custer, officiating. Interment will follow in Maple Creek Cemetery with graveside military honors by Marine Corps League and the U.S. Marine Corps In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to California Area School District Foundation, PO Box 531, California, PA 15419.