Thomas Charles O’Neil, Sr. (or Boppa as he was known to his grandchildren), of Lake Forest, IL, passed away April 1, 2019, at the age of 80. Born May 27, 1938, to John and Harriette O’Neil, Tom was raised in Des Moines, Iowa, where he met and married his beloved wife, Jane Ann Stephens, who preceded him in death in 2017, after nearly 50 years of marriage. He attended St. Augustin School, graduated from Dowling High School and then the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Tom started his career at Dean Witter Reynolds in 1962 and enjoyed an illustrious 40-year career there. He took the family from Des Moines, IA to Wilmette, IL; Short Hills, NJ; Lake Forest, IL; Winter Park, FL; and their final stop, settling back in Lake Forest. Tom retired as a Regional Director and Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 2003.
Tom was an active member of the community and gave back generously to those groups he loved. He served as President of Old Elm Club; as a member of the Board of Governors and Treasurer of Onwentsia Club; Board Member of the United States Seniors’ Golf Association; Member of the Lake Forest Police Pension Board and Trustee at Woodlands Academy.
Tom’s interests included travel, golf, bridge, food, and wine. He was also a voracious reader who would scan the bestseller lists for titles he had yet to read. Tom cherished trips to France, Italy and South Africa with his late wife, family and close friends. Upon retirement, Tom fulfilled a lifelong dream when he planted grape vines at his home in St. Helena, CA, and produced his very own wine, “One”. A lifelong learner, he loved the science and art of the winemaking process and truly loved the culture and lifestyle of the Napa Valley. He loved the game of golf, spending countless hours on the course with friends and family. For his 65th birthday, he started an annual tournament with his sons that took them to courses in Ireland, California, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. It was an event he looked forward to every year, and it will continue in his honor moving forward. Another tradition Tom started was a special Christmas lunch with his “girls” (his daughters and daughters-in-law) at which he would place a special, hand-picked gift at each seat. Most important to Tom was his family, and many of his favorite times were dinners with them at home.
Tom’s thoughtfulness, generosity, quick wit, incredible sense of humor, loyalty, integrity, and quiet strength will be missed by his children P.J. (Jana), Charlie (Katie), Riley, and Tommy (Molly), his sister, Julie Siberz (Chris), and his nieces and nephews. Boppa was a wonderful grandfather to Georgia, Patrick, Will, Andrew, Huston, Helen, and Jane O’Neil. He was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter, Mary O’Neil, and the love of his life, Jane.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Tom’s name may be made to Forest Park Preservation, P.O. Box 868, Lake Forest, IL 60045 and Providence St. Mel School, 119 S. Central Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60624.
A funeral mass will be held at 11:30 A.M. on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at the Church of Saint Mary, 201 East Illinois Road, Lake Forest, Illinois. Interment will be private at Lake Forest Cemetery.