Robert L. O’Neill, 78, a proud native Newporter, passed away on Friday, March 2, 2018 surrounded by family, after a courageous battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was the husband of Jeannette R. (Dupere) O’Neill. Born on December 20, 1939 in Newport, RI, he was the son of the late Robert L. and Jennie N. (Ripa) O’Neill. 

Besides his wife of 54 years, he is survived by their daughters Kristine Hightower and her husband Troy of Middletown, CT, Kelly O’Neill of Tiverton and Kathlene O’Neill of Newport and his grandchildren Erica, Simone, Douglas and Tara. Bobby was the brother of the late Catherine Liptak. He was a communicant of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, where he and Jeannette were married by Rev. George McCarthy on October 17, 1964 and renewed their vows in celebration of their 50th anniversary in 2014. 

Bobby was a graduate of Rogers High School and attended Roger Williams College, where he met the love of his life. He worked at the US Postal Service for 31 years, where he was past president of the American Postal Workers Union local and state. After retirement he worked with his wife at the family deli Mrs. O’s Kitchen, Ash Mart and Memorial Funeral Home. He also served as vice-president of Island Cemetery.

As he was always proud of his Irish-Sicilian heritage, Bobby was a lifetime member of the Newport Ancient Order of Hibernians and served as vice president of the state AOH and was also a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee for numerous years and in 2014, was honored to proudly lead all the marchers through his beloved Newport as the parade’s Grand Marshal.

Bobby enjoyed fishing for stripers at Ocean Drive in his younger years, and later played golf as a longtime member of Montaup Country Club. He loved to cook (and eat), specializing in clam boils, stuffed quahogs and corned beef (which he claimed was the best and we agree.) 

Bobby earned his nickname “The Rooster” while working for the postal service as he was always crowing about something. His voice could also be heard above all insistently hawking 50/50 raffle tickets at Hibernian meetings.

Perhaps his greatest legacy was the multitude of friends and acquaintances he enjoyed throughout the years. He was the proud Dad of many honorary “sons and daughters.” 

The family would like to thank his hospice nurse Mike Walsh and the nurses at Charlton Memorial Hospital for their wonderful care. We are deeply grateful also for all the family, friends and co-workers who touched his life, especially in recent years.

Whether you knew him as Bob, Bobby, Mr. O or Rooster, he made his mark on many throughout his life and will be greatly missed by all.

Calling hours will be held on Thursday, March 8, 2018 from 4:00 to 8:00PM at Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport.

His funeral will be held on Friday, March 9, 2018 at 10:30AM from the funeral home, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30AM, in St. Mary’s Church, Spring Street, Newport, RI. Burial will be in Island Cemetery, Warner Street, Newport

At Bobby’s request, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, PO Box 1404, Newport RI, 02840 so that the parade may continue to bring as much joy to others as it did him.

 
 

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