Colleen O'Neill

South Charleston, WV

Colleen O'Neill

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  (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 and selecting the obituary. Arrangements are in care of Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.

7 replies
  1. Kimberli Roessing-Anderson says:

    Sending our condolences to Colleen’s family. Colleen was an amazing person. We had so much fun spending summers together at EPI when we were kids. I am so glad I was able to reconnect with Colleen on Facebook. Kimberli Roessing-Anderson and family.

  2. Rosemary Petersoon says:

    Mr. O’ Neill, Irene, Drew, and family,
    I was so sorry to hear of Colleen”s passing. She was such an inspiration to everyone. Colleen was such an easy and fun loving student to teach. She was interested in everything and always had something to contribute. She loved all people and took a sincere interest in everyone. The world is so small as Colleen and my son worked together for years. I kept up with her fantastic life beyond all the disabilities, many of which she conquered or found a way to move forward. Love and prayers to all your family and friends Colleen. Rest in peace now after a life lived to the fullest!

  3. Linda Streets says:

    We attend Blessed Sacrament with our grandchildren. Our grandson also uses a wheelchair for mobility. Colleen was most welcoming to him. We will all miss seeing her at church.

  4. Joan Garten says:

    Dear Jim and Family,
    Please accept our condolences on the death of your wonderful daughter/sibling, Colleen. She was truly a ray of light, bringing joy and happiness wherever she went. We remember her wonderful spirit from her days at CCHS and her years at Blessed Sacrament. May your many positive memories of Colleen help you through the difficult days ahead.
    Joan and Skip Garten

  5. Pat and Anita Maroney says:

    We send our condolences to the O’Neill family. Colleen was a wonderful and amazing person, and a true pleasure to be with.

  6. Marcela says:

    Condolences to Colleen’s family. Remembering her kindness, humor, and strength always. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  7. Gina Marinucci says:

    Colleen was a beautiful person inside and out that embodied light that shined on all who knew her or met her. I’m so sorry to hear of Colleen’s passing and sending much love to her family. Colleen never met a stranger, always wore a smile and was a friend to all that knew her.
    Always so much love for you Colleen ! Gina

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  • Saturday, March 27
  • 11:00 Am - 12:00 Noon

Memorial Service

  • Saturday, March 27
  • 11:30 AM