Michael O’Neill Remembered

Bob Torkildsen photo of Mike at Wilson’s in Maine

Michael G. O’Neill, husband of the late Janet (Connolly) O’Neill, passed away on July 21, 2023.  Born in Middletown, County Armagh, Ireland, he is the son of the late Michael and Margaret O’Neill.

Mike with Chett Walsh discussing the culvert project at Lockwood Forest, Boxford, 2013.

Mike was an active member of TU Nor’East Chapter and made major contributions to the success of the Chapter. He cooked for the regular meetings, particularly his corned beef and cabbage for the March meeting, to honor St. Patrick’s Day. He contributed professional engineering to the major conservation projects undertaken by the Chapter. Mike was the Chapter treasurer and an active member of the Board of Directors. Mike cared about improving trout habitat and contributed his engineering expertise to make those projects a success.

Mike (right) with Ben Shea, Greg Murrer and Josh Rownd at Middleton Road culvert , 2019.

Mike was a major contributor to the success of the Chapter Banquet, putting together the Banquet Program Booklet and contributing to the auction items. We will miss Mike a lot.

Mike cooking at the fishing outing at Crane Pond, 2013.

Michael grew up in Ireland and came by boat to America in 1962, landing in New York and traveling to Medford where he resided with his parents, sister and brother. A fond memory of his was discovering Dilboy Stadium in nearby Somerville and the Gaelic Athletic Association. A talented athlete, he joined the County Cavan Gaelic Football team and served as Assistant Secretary. Michael and Janet met on a blind date, and eventually settled in North Reading to raise their family.

Michael graduated from Northeastern University and became a Professional Civil Engineer, having worked for Edwards and Kelcey and the Boston Water Sewer Commission, until he started his own business, O’Neill Associates, in North Reading. He used his engineering expertise to help create valued recreation space for the town. As a member of the Land Utilization Committee, Michael was instrumental in the design of Ipswich River Park, and later designed the turf field at the North Reading High School.

He was an accomplished ballroom dancer and enjoyed playing the piano and harmonica. He was an excellent cook and was known for his Irish soda bread, chicken marsala, apple pies and Christmas cakes. Michael was at home in the outdoors, spending his time fly fishing, gardening, planting flowers and teaching his grandchildren about the birds in the yard. He was a fixture on the sidelines of his grandchildren’s sports, rain or shine. Adding to his volunteer efforts, he was a soccer coach for many years, assisted in bringing the Fall Kick-Off Classic soccer tournament to North Reading, was Co-President of Friends Fighting Breast Cancer, a charity started by his late-wife, and served as a member of Trout Unlimited.  Michael was a true gentleman, dedicated to his family and town and will be sorely missed.