William Patrick O’Neill

January 24, 1924 - January 28, 2021

Funeral Details:

William Patrick O’Neill was born January 24, 1924 and departed this world January 28, 2021 at 97 years of age, and one of the many victims of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bill was born in Castledermot, Co. Kildare, Ireland and spent much of his childhood with his grandparents and uncles on the family farm in Maganey, Co. Kildare.  He spoke often of his memories of his grandfather's blacksmiths forge at Maganey, and the hours spent watching and listening to the men who gathered there, passing the whiskey bottle, as his grandfather and uncles repaired farm equipment or shod the huge draft horses used on farms in those days.

An intelligent and curious child, Bill excelled in school and attended Dominican College Newbridge, Newbridge, Co. Kildare and later attended Trinity College, Dublin where he studied physics and mathematics.

Bill also served with the Royal Air Force from 1942 to 1945, and was stationed in India as a radio technician.

In 1950 he married Maura Nolan, a dark hair beauty he had known in Athy, Co. Kildare since he was 15, and they had five children.  At various times Bill worked at Westrex in Dublin, Ardmore Studios, Bray, Co. Wicklow, and was one of the founding members of Teilifís Éireann (Irish Television).

In 1964, Bill got the job of Chief of Sound Department with the Ghana Film Industry Corporation in Accra, Ghana and moved the entire family to Accra in February, 1964.

Always interested in challenging opportunities, Bill took a job in 1966 with Ambassador Records in Kumasi, Ghana, to set up a recording studio and record manufacturing plant, the first in West Africa.  He not only designed and drew the architectural plans for the buildings, he designed the dam for the nearby river to supply water to the plant, the acoustics for the recording studio and customized the mixing consoles for recording the music. As the political climate in Ghana changed, Bill looked for opportunities to leave and in 1969 he moved his family to Ontario, Canada where he worked at Bellevue Pathé in Toronto. Bill went to be a founding member of Mirrophonic Sound, in Toronto, then worked for Magnatech in New York, where he was based in India and introduced modern sound recording technology to the film industry there. Bill also travelled to China and South Africa for similar purposes.

Bill had diverse interests and delved into any opportunity that struck his expansive imagination. He built several astronomical telescopes and was the first person to photograph the traverse of Sputnik 1 across Ireland in 1957. His photograph was published in the Journal of The Royal Astronomical Society in 1957.

Throughout his entire life, Bill was an energetic, imaginative, creative and passionate man.  He was his own brand of genius and, as is often the case with such people, he could be difficult and temperamental at times, anyone who knew Bill appreciated the fact of his quick wit and outsize sense of humor.  He absolutely loved animals of all kinds, literature, classical music and opera, and pursued a lifelong passionate interest in astronomy. Like any good Irishman, he enjoyed a glass or two of whiskey.

Bill was preceded in death by his beloved wife Maura, and his oldest daughter, Gerardine.  He is survived by his son Hugh and wife Linda, son Bill and wife Leslie, daughter Philomena and husband Paul, daughter Mary and husband Mike,

twelve grandchildren; Sara, Brendan, Dylan, Emma, Kathleen, Meghan, Liam, Sean, Nolan, Kamal, Jamal, Kevan, Sheila and Patrick, and twelve great-grandchildren; Ethan, Isaac M, Oliver, Frances, Ingrid, Isaac K , Julia, Xavier, Cassius, Seena August and Maeve. We will all greatly miss him.

Rest in Peace Bill.


33 Condolences
  • Mary Murphy
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    I love you dad. I am so happy you are with mom and have your peace…xoxo

  • Shane Saunders
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    Our deepest and most sincere condolences to the family.

    Shane & Amy

  • Jo-Ann Nicolle
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    Mary, Liam and family. As sad as it is to lose a beloved father and Grandfather, to read his obituary, he was such a bigger than life presence, a true gift to the world. I am so glad that he is with your Grandmother once again, watching over all of you. God bless

  • Helen Collins
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    My deepest condolences to you and your family Mary! May he Rest In Peace.

  • Joanne Kiss
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    So sorry😰 to hear about the loss of your dad Mary he was such a sweet soul! He will be missed and may you have peace knowing He’s in Gods hands and reunited with all his loved ones that have gone before him🙏❤️🙏😇😓

  • Daphne and John Gray
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    Dear Mary, Mike, and all the ample branches that had their origin with Bill and Maura, Please accept our profound condolences on your loss. May you feel your Dad in the twinkle of a grandchild’s eye, or in the warmth of your memories. May you know he is always with you, but away. Much love. Daphne and John

  • Stuart Hetherington
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    With deepest sympathies to all the family. A true colleague and gentleman. Forever in our thoughts. May he rest in eternal peace.

  • John Gray
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    My most sincere condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    R.I.P. Bill.

  • Dennis Lalonde
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    Sandy and I send you, and your beautiful families, our warmest, deepest and sincere sympathies.
    May he, William Patrick O’Neill, rest in peace!

    As a caregiver and as a friend, I have been blessed to have had the opportunity of getting to know him and his lovely family.
    Over the four years that I have known him, I am enriched to have so many profound memories of Bill.

    Bill was proud, sharp, well educated and well travelled… he prized his many passports so much, that he asked me if I could summarize his many trips through his passports. I was happy that I followed through on his request, reporting on the many airports he had travelled through and how many times. He sure was a globetrotter!

    He often spoke of Maura, how much he admired her, how she was the best of all nurses, the best in the world, he missed her. I would have loved to have met her. He often spoke of his appreciation of Mary and Mike helping him in so many ways, including loading up his bar fridge with juice boxes, pop, chocolates, cheese sticks and the many snacks that was always found beside the fridge… and all the doctor, and dentist appointments, hearing tests, purchasing of hearing aids, the many haircuts… the list goes on and on.
    He appreciated the many visits from his children, particularly the long distance trips by Philomena and Paul from Seattle and the many phone calls that his children made. He just loved and cherished the many moments.

    The greatest memory I will always have of Bill is his good sense of humor. He always had an affectionate and contagious smile and laughter!
    He enjoyed making others laugh, enjoyed the beautiful smiles on their faces. Bill often said “You have to laugh, laughter is healthy”.
    I also enjoyed the many stories when Bill remanence of having met Robert Mitchem, Humphrey Boggart and so many others.

    I will never forget him, and once again his beautiful family. Thanks for accepting me into your family.

    God Bless, R.I.P.

    • Philomena O’Neill Kohl
      Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing, Dennis. You knew him very well in his last years of life and our entire family appreciate very much the time you spent with him. He called you his “gentleman friend”, and you certainly were. Thank you.

      Posted on: Sunday, February 14, 2021 Reply

      Thank You Dennis. That’s a kind and lovely remembrance from you to Bill and his family.

  • Philomena O’Neill Kohl
    Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2021 Reply

    Dad, I am going to miss you – your sense of humor and your enthusiasm for life. Rest In Peace, you surely earned it. All my love.

  • Emma Kohl
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    Love you so much Grandpa. Thank you for showing us how remarkable life can be when you are brave and confident and smart. I will miss you and your silliness and your seriousness. I miss you so much, but am so glad you are able to Rest In Peace, amongst the stars you loved so much. Love you.

  • Sheila & Derek Grant
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    So sorry to hear the sad news. Bill and Maura introduced Sheila and Derek to each other in Madras in 1982 and we spent many happy hours together and Derek spent many happy hours in the men’s club (the shed) in Barrie. We also had many happy hours in Bracebridge with them both. Wonderful memories we will miss both Bill and Maura. Love Sheila & Derek.

  • Sheila & Derek Grant
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    Such sad news. Sheila and Derek first met Bill and Maura in Madras (India) in 1982. They introduced us to each other for which we are eternally grateful. We all had some great times together in India and Canada. Happy memories. We will remember them both with great love and affection.

  • Jake Malone
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    To Hugh & your clan, to Philomena & your clans, to Mary & your clans & to Bill & your clan … offering & sending my deepest condolences, my love & blessings. May Bill rest in natural great peace…💝

  • Mary Lou Nolan
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    So sorry to hear about the passing of Uncle Bill who I met often as a child in Dublin and more recently on a trip to Canada. I will always remember a larger than life character with a passion for lively conversation. Condolences to all our Canadian cousins. RIP.

    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    Dear Dad, I found this Irish poem for you, to send you on your way. Thanks for all that I learned from you and the adventures that you took us on.

    I lay my head to rest,
    and in doing so,
    lay at your feet
    the faces I have seen,
    the voices I have heard,
    the words I have spoken,
    the hands I have shaken,
    the service I have given,
    the joys I have shared,
    the sorrows revealed,
    I lay them at your feet,
    and in doing so
    lay my head to rest.

  • Bernadette Stanley
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    To Hugh, Bill, Philomena, Mary I wish to express my deepest sympathy on the passing of your Dad. I have great memories of your visits to Maganey with your Dad and Mam many years ago. May they both rest now in eternal peace. Best wishes Bernadette

  • George Gill
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    I’ve been thinking about him a lot this January as the month of both of his parents anniversaries of death & his own birthday. Ironically, I attended Confession & Holy Communion on Saturday & offered these up for him without realising his passing 2 days earlier. See the stars Uncle Bill, but this time there’s no need for the telescope. God Bless George & Sandra.

  • Donna Richardson
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    I was sad to hear the news of the passing of your father. I know my dad loved the lively repartee with Bill during the many dinners they shared in Barrie. My sincere condolences at this difficult time. Bill and Maura are now together in peace.

  • David Gill
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    Uncle Bill was the son of Edward O’Neill (1886-1928) and Julia Stanley (1899-1975). His father died when Bill was 4. His mother did not wish to remarry and went to Dublin to train to be a midwife. Julia brought up Bill and my mother, his sister Marie with help of her family but mostly by her own efforts. I think Bill got his independent and go ahead spirit from these early years. He knew a lot depended on what he could do himself.

    He is known for his humour and endeavour. He could be blunt but he could also be sensitive and was generous and gracious. He was intelligent and thoughtful and he had much wisdom. His hobbies included photography and he produced many memorable images.

    His Irish family are thinking of the great gathering of the clans now taking place in heaven with so many people from all sides of his and Maura’s family coming together to give him a warm and heartfelt welcome.

  • Eileen Bolander
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    We all were so sad to hear of Bill’s passing. He certainly was a unique and remarkable gentleman as described in his lovely obituary. Please know that your US O’Neill family, cousin Eileen and children and cousin Frances and children all send their heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of you.

  • Julie and Kevin Murphy
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Reply

    Our sincere condolences during this difficult time! Julie and Kevin

  • Irish Cousins
    Posted on: Wednesday, February 3, 2021 Reply

    Bill has a number of first cousins still alive in Ireland. They asked me to pass on these messages to his family.

    Fr Paddy Stanley: “This is the first time in one month that I had any interest in opening my Laptop and I have just read of Willie O Neill’s death. I know it was expected but when it comes it is very tough, a heart break for his family and extended family..I offer my deepest sympathy and that of the Stanley family to Willie’s heart broken family, to your self, George and all others. I pray that he is now in the arms of his loving God, reunited with his dear wife Maura. David can you please pass on our sympathy to Willie’s family please?
    I am recovering slowly from the Covid Virus, not back on Parish duty yet with energy levels low.
    Kindest regards to your self and Gayle.

    Vincent Walsh, is the son of Mary Stanley, sister of Bill’s mother Julia Stanley. Vincent and his siblings (including John, rip) greatly admired Bill and what he had achieved. Vincent asked me to pass on his condolences to Bill’s family.

    David Gill, Bill’s nephew

  • Gayle Gill
    Posted on: Wednesday, February 3, 2021 Reply

    I was blessed some 15 years ago to have lunch with Bill and Maure. I was escorting a group of debaters from my school in London to a competition at a school near Barrie. I contacted Bill and Maure in hope but not expectation that we could meet up. In the event, they treated me and my entire team of girls to the most wonderful Chinese meal. Mary was also with them, and it was such a great pleasure to meet her. At their request, I was also able to hand over photos from his wedding and his time in Ireland that his mother had kept by her bedside, and a locket that hiss mother had worn with a miniature picture of Bill inside it. I was so pleased to meet my husband’s uncle and aunt, my fellow Canadians.

  • Loretta and John Kearsley
    Posted on: Thursday, February 4, 2021 Reply

    We were so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. I pray that God will grant you peace.

  • Loretta and John Kearsley
    Posted on: Thursday, February 4, 2021 Reply

    We are so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. I pray that God will give you peace.

  • Lauren & Dylan
    Posted on: Friday, February 5, 2021 Reply

    We will forever love and miss you Grandpa Bill and Grandma Maura.

  • Sara O'Neill-Kohl
    Posted on: Saturday, February 6, 2021 Reply

    Grandpa Bill, it is so hard to believe you are gone. I will treasure all of my memories of you. I see your energy, curiosity, passion, intelligence, humor and love for adventure (and sometimes mischief!) across so many of your descendants, including my own children. I am so grateful for having known you.
    love Sara, Craig, Frances & Ingrid

  • Kate Malone (Malvern UK)
    Posted on: Sunday, February 7, 2021 Reply

    Deepest condolences to Hugh, Mary, Philomena, Bill and all the family.
    I’m so sorry to hear of Uncle Bill’s passing. Wishing you strength and comfort together at this sad time. May you rest in peace Bill.

  • Amanda Curtis
    Posted on: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 Reply

    Bill and Maura were very special people whose kindness and warmth touched many and left us all with only the happiest of memories.
    Hugh, Philomena, Mary and Bill my heart goes out to you and your families. May your Dad rest in peace.

    • Mary Murphy
      Posted on: Wednesday, February 17, 2021 Reply

      Thank you Amanda. How did you hear of dad’s passing?

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