Tom (my Father in Law) died peacefully in his room At Stildon Brendon Care Nursing Home on 4th June, he was 94 (we think – more about that later). He is greatly missed by his family.
What to say about Dad………(the Eulogy written for his funeral).
Tom O’Neill was born on a farm In Clogh (pronounced ‘Clock’) County Kilkenny in Ireland. He was one of one of ten children. His early years were something of a mystery. For years Tom thought he had been born on 13th May 1920 however during a family holiday to Ireland and a visit to his’s childhood church, the family subsequently found a new birth date in the parish records of 5th June, he then jokingly insisted on two birthdays, just like royalty. So when we are asked how old he was – therefore today we cannot be 100% sure whether he was 93 or 94.
Tom left home in Clogh when he was about 16 and lived and worked in Dublin for some 20 years. He decided to seek a new life in England and there he met Sheila. They were married in 1959 and celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary earlier this year (2014).
For 50 years Tom and Sheila lived in Wembley, and saw many changes in the area and in their parish of which they were actively involved. He ran life groups, coffee mornings and fundraised extensively. He was also a catechist for many years. One of Tom (and Sheila’s) most remarkable achievements was the creation of a temporary church in Wembley. Started in 1964, Tom and Sheila kept the church open for Sunday mass and Holy Days for some 30 years. For their outstanding service they were both awarded the BENE MERENTI medal in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.
For some 30 years Tom worked in the finance office in FIAT cars in London. He would swear blind that they were the best cars on the market and try to persuade anyone to buy them. He was also a joker and loved to wind up friends and family. All good-natured of course.
Although their garden in Wembley was small it was always an array of colour and he took great pride in it. He also visited National Trust properties and Kew Gardens which he enjoyed tremendously. He loved family holidays and for many years the family holidayed in Paignton, Devon. On the first occasion that the family drove by car from London to Paignton, a Fiat of course, the journey took 15 hours and the car broke down twice. Even Tom struggled to maintain his composure that day.
Tom and Sheila moved to East Grinstead 5 years ago, they moved into a flat at Stildon Care Home and have enjoyed being near family and getting involved in this Church. Although the last few months of his life were spent in the Nursing home side he was loved and admired by many of the staff and his whistling and singing will be sorely missed amongst other things.
He leaves behind Sheila, his 3 children Elizabeth, Margaret and Terry and his 6 Grandchildren. He will be missed deeply, but remembered fondly by all. He particularly loved family occasions so we know he is with us today.