Josephine O'Neill


Josephine O'Neill
July 16, 1928 - April 3, 2011

Josephine "Jo" O'Neill of Walla Walla, passed away April 3, 2011, at Park Manor Rehabilitation Center at the age of 82, after a 35-year battle with cancer. A memorial service will be held at Wheatland Village Chapel on Saturday, April 9, at 2:30 p.m. Burial will be in the Riverside National Cemetery in California. The family requests that memorial contributions be made in Jo's memory to Walla Walla Community Hospice or Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center through Mountain View-Colonial DeWitt, 1551 Dalles Military Road, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

The fifth of seven children, Jo was born July 16, 1928, to Joseph and Jessie (Wilson) Lowrey in Tulsa, Okla. At age 8, she entered a tuberculosis sanitarium, where she lived for two years. While she was there, her mother died. At age 12, she went to live at an orphanage because her father could no longer provide for her and her siblings. Her father died while she was in the orphanage. After World War II, Jo and her younger sister hitchhiked from Oklahoma to California to live near their older sister. She met Louis O'Neill in Los Angeles in 1952, and they were married in Yuma, Ariz.

Jo was a stay-at-home mother until all four of her boys were in school. She then went to work at J.C. Penney as a salesperson. Several years later, Jo went to work for Hughes Aircraft in Fullerton, Calif., as an electronics assembler. She worked there until her retirement in 1996. Jo and Lou, who had retired before her, spent their retirement years working on their yard and traveling. They vacationed in Costa Rica and Mexico, visited their grandchildren in Wisconsin and Washington, and went to annual reunions of the 4th Marine Division to visit with men that Lou had served with during the war. Jo always enjoyed meeting people and making friends.

After a long illness, Lou died in 1996. Jo stayed in their home of 47 years in Buena Park, Calif., until 2005 when she moved to Walla Walla to live near her son and daughter-in-law. She lived at Wheatland Village and was very active among the residents in the assisted living wing. She took it upon herself to make sure other residents made it to exercise class, encouraged others to come along on the weekly "ride a-rounds", was a member of the lunch bunch, and just tried to be friends with everyone. She will be missed by all who had the joy of knowing her.

Jo is survived by her sons, Roy O'Neill of Stevens Point, Wis., Joe O'Neill of Amherst Junction, Wis., and Charles O'Neill of Walla Walla; five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her husband; her son, James; two brothers, and four sisters.

Friends may write memories and sign the online guestbook at


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