Colleen O’Neill, beloved daughter, sister, and aunt returned to God on Friday, March 19, 2021, after recent challenges with a medical illness. Colleen was born June 6, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York, daughter of Irene and James T. O’Neill, Jr. Colleen is a 1987 graduate from Charleston Catholic High School where she was known for her exuberance, and welcoming spirit. Colleen graduated from Marshall University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, which she utilized throughout her professional career of 25 years with the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection. Colleen was a devout Catholic and active member of Blessed Sacrament Church, where she served lovingly and faithfully as a greeter and Sunday school teacher for more than 15 years.
Throughout her life, Colleen was fueled by a determination and perseverance that matched her flaming red hair. At the age of 17, she suffered a stroke like event that left her with physical disabilities. Despite a life-altering prognosis, she overcame her life’s limitations, living up to her nickname of “Fireball.” She went on to accomplish what doctors never thought possible. Professionally, Colleen was a gifted and award-winning writer, which allowed her to cultivate an independent and deeply meaningful life for herself.
Colleen had a lifelong love affair with Betty Boop, Oscar the Grouch, M&Ms, Dr. Pepper, Crocs, and all things 80’s. And although her family is brokenhearted by her sudden death, they celebrate the beauty and dignity of her life, a life defined by infectious joy, beloved community, resilience, and a deep faith in Christ Jesus. A champion for those with disabilities, Colleen changed how others saw those living with a disability. She was an example of what one can achieve when they put their mind to it. Colleen loved fiercely and was loved by all, including her cat Fenton.
Preceded in death by her mother, Irene Agnes O’Neill, brother, James Tyler O’Neill, III and aunt, Catherine Ann Graham (“Colleen”), Colleen is survived by her father, James T. O’Neill, Jr., siblings Mary O’Neill, Margaret Melia and her husband Garry (Sean, Meredith, Griffin), Drew O’Neill (Walker and Serena) and Irene O’Neill, nephew, James Tyler O’Neill, IV (son of deceased James Tyler O’Neill, III) and cousin, Peter Graham.
Family will receive friends on Saturday, March 27 from 11-12, with a memorial at 11:30am at Blessed Sacrament Parish in South Charleston, WV. Immediately following around noon will be the funeral mass to celebrate and honor Colleen’s life. The service will be live streamed on Blessed Sacrament’s Facebook Page for those unable to attend in person https://www.facebook.com/BSCWV/ (a Facebook account is not required for access). Proceeding Colleen’s funeral, a graveside interment ceremony will at Sunset Memorial Park. In honor of Colleen’s life and her exuberance, the family requests attendees wear fun and/or bright colored clothing.
Arrangement’s courtesy of Snodgrass Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, please consider celebrating Colleen’s life with a contribution to the South Charleston Fire Department. This amazing fire station played an integral and invaluable role in Colleen’s support system. For more than 22 years, they served her with love and care. Donations may be made out to: SCFD Local 837, and mailed to SCFD Local 837, P.O. Box 8767, South Charleston, WV 25303 or you can drop it off in person at Station 1, 315 4th Avenue, South Charleston, WV 25303.
Colleen’s family extends deep gratitude to the individuals and communities that supported her over the years. Life is not meant to be traveled alone and Colleen’s life is a beautiful reflection of this sentiment. The support received from Blessed Sacrament Church, WV Division of Environmental Protection, South Charleston Fire Department and individuals too numerous to name, allowed Colleen to realize her dream of living an independent and meaningful life.
In order to safely honor Colleen’s life and protect those gathered to celebrate her life, face masks and social distancing guidelines will be required of all in attendance.
Memories may be shared on line by visiting www.snodgrassfuneral.com and selecting the obituary. Arrangements are in care of Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.