Family and friends will gather next month to celebrate the life of Terry C. O’Neill, and are sharing this remembrance with his community:
Terry C. O’Neill
June 5, 1936 – January 26, 2023
On January 26th, 2023, Terry passed from the arms of his beloved wife Wendy for over 64 years into the eternal arms of Jesus. He was surrounded by his loving family in his final days of life here on earth. He valiantly fought a long battle of recurring pneumonia, which rewarded him extended months, if not years, with us all.
Terry was the firstborn of Thomas and Hope O’Neill (Foster) and then his brother Michael came along in 1939. He attended Lafayette Elementary, James Madison Junior High, and graduated from West Seattle High School in 1954. He attended Whitman College for one year and then the University of Washington night school while working full time in the family business in West Seattle, O’Neill Plumbing Company, started by his grandfather James O’Neill in 1917.
Growing up, Terry spent the summers with his family on the North Shore of Hood Canal. He became an excellent water-skier and enjoyed boating and sailing with his family and friends. It was on the beaches of Hood Canal at a young age that Terry met Wendy – eventually becoming the love of his life. Terry was very involved in the Sea Scouts and spent many days and weeks aboard the Yankee Clipper throughout Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. He loved being on the water with the wind in his face and the waves at his feet. He was also a very accomplished snow skier. He took road trips with friends to Sun Valley, ID (sleeping in a van), and even hiked up part of Mt. Rainier from Paradise and skied down. He loved the outdoors spending time with friends and family.
Terry was a loving husband to Wendy (Arnold) since their marriage in August 1958. Together they traveled for special celebratory occasions to Hawaii, Fiji, and Europe. He was a wonderful father to Tomi Jean O’Neill, Todd & Lizzie O’Neill, and Tim & Stephanie O’Neill. Terry and Wendy valued making memories with their family and planned wonderful vacations. They went camping throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia; they sailed through the San Juan Islands; went skiing on winter weekends to all the mountains in WA; they spent spring breaks in Palm Desert and Maui, and summers of course on the shores of Hood Canal. In 2007 Wendy and Terry fulfilled a longtime dream of purchasing a winter home in Scottsdale, AZ. They enjoyed their home with family and friends for many years.
Terry was a special “Papa” to all of his grandchildren (6) and great-grandchildren (almost 8). He leaves a legacy with each of them – Brandon & Stacy LaVielle with Layla (7) and Scarlett (5) in Seattle, Marie (O’Neill) & Caleb Bagdanov with Simon (3) and Moses (1) in Santa Barbara, CA, Alex LaVielle in Seattle, Katie (O’Neill) & Andrew Thompson with Everett (5), Oliver (3), and Ford (2 months) in Gig Harbor, WA, Samantha (LaVielle) & Mike Kerr who are due with their firstborn in May in Seattle, and Annie (O’Neill) & Casey Borden in Portland, OR.
Terry and Wendy took over the reins of O’Neill Plumbing Co. in 1961 from his parents and grew the business tremendously over the next five decades. He handed the operation to his youngest son Tim, who purchased the business with his wife Stephanie in 2013. Early on in the business he was plumbing and working out of his truck while Wendy answered the phones day and night operating a 24/7 emergency service business. They soon added another plumber, which meant another truck and equipment, and then another. In 1976 they expanded by purchasing a building on California Avenue in West Seattle where the 105-year-old family-owned business still operates from today. They added an underground division while continuing to grow the repair and emergency side of the business for both residential and commercial customers. Terry and Wendy supported many community programs through the company including the Lions Club, Pee Wee Baseball, and the YMCA. They always believed in generously giving back to the community.
Terry loved a good conversation. He was always asking good questions of others and sincerely interested in everyone he met. He poured into people whether that was his family, his team at O’Neill Plumbing Co. or his friends. Terry was a loyal friend over the years staying in touch with some of his first childhood friends throughout his entire life. Whenever anyone had a conversation with Terry either briefly or at length, they usually heard a cute joke and walked away laughing and smiling. Terry loved to laugh and keep things on the lighter side.
Terry has faith in Jesus Christ as his Rock and Redeemer. He lived out the principles of his faith by serving others and doing what was right, true, and good. He understood and extended grace to others on many occasions. He and Wendy attended Fauntleroy Congregational Church in the ’60s and then in the mid-’70s joined Hope Lutheran Church in West Seattle.
Terry will be deeply missed by his wife, his family, and so many friends and colleagues. As he shared just a couple weeks before his passing, “I’ve had a good life and I have a wonderful family.” We love you Papa, and we will be with you again someday.
A celebration of life honoring Terry will be held at Canterwood Golf & Country Club in Gig Harbor at 2 pm on Sunday, March 19th. Please visit www.rill.com to view pictures of Terry and leave a personal story or remembrance. If you would like to make a gift in his memory, please do so to the charity of your choice.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)