Vivian A. O’Neill, age 91 of Beardsley, MN, passed away Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at the Browns Valley Health Center.
Mass of Christian Burial for Vivian will be Saturday, January 12, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Beardsley with Father David Breu officiating. Music will be provided by organist Carmen Hills and vocalists Sue Sykora and Stacey Borgheiinck. Visitation will be Saturday morning one hour prior to the service at the church.
Burial will be in the St. Mary’s Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Vivian’s grandchildren.
Vivian Anna O’Neill was born February 11, 1927, in Beulah, ND, to Benedict and Margaret (Knettel) Sauer. She was baptized at St. Joseph Church in Beulah. As the daughter of a Peavey Elevator manager, the family moved several times finally settling in Browns Valley, MN, when Vivian entered the third grade. She attended school there through the 10th grade, and then spent her junior and senior year at St. Francis Catholic High School in Little Falls, MN. Vivian was very proud of the time she spent helping and working for her father at the Peavey Elevator in Browns Valley, and she got her Social Security card at that time. After graduation, she worked for 3 and 1/2 years at the Browns Valley Drug Store.
Vivian went on her first date with Philip O’Neill to a dance at the Browns Valley Coliseum that led to their marriage on June 7, 1948. For five months they shared the responsibilities of operating Dan’s Cafe in Browns Valley. Vivian learned the art of cooking fast; little did she know how useful that talent would be! That fall they moved to the O’Neill Family Farm north of Beardsley. Vivian lived there for 69 years.
Those years on the farm Vivian helped raise their eight children, including several nieces and nephews that spent time learning about life on a farm. She fed countless hired men, took lunches to the field, raised big gardens, and did more cooking! She will forever be remembered for her homemade noodles, homemade bread and chocolate cake.
Later Vivian’s love of children led her to attend the University of MN Morris where she obtained an Early Childhood Teaching Certificate. She taught Head Start, Home Start, and ABC Playtime Preschool. Even after raising eight children of her own, she was still drawn to “little ones” and loved every child as if each one was her own.
Vivian had a talent for drawing and painting (she volunteered for many years painting crafts for the Browns Valley Health Center). She enjoyed crocheting, bowling, country music, crossword puzzles, and playing cards and Yahtzee with family. The happiest days for Vivian were spending time with her husband. Together they enjoyed hobbies including: snowmobiling, attending WE Fests, following the MN Twins, MN Timberwolves, MN Vikings, and going to the Casino and playing Bingo. They entered the Browns Valley Health Center in September of 2017 and together continued to engage life, making new friends with the staff and residents, playing cards, bingo, exercises, and attending Mass. Above all Vivian loved spending time with her family, eagerly anticipating each return visit, greeting them with a beaming smile and always adding “one more hug” before leaving.
For 70 years Vivian was both an American Legion Auxiliary member and a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. She was a Catechism teacher and a member of the Altar and Rosary Society. Her children grew up watching their mother pray the rosary and witnessed her faith and love of God which never faltered.
Left with her loving memory is her husband Philip of 70 and 1/2 years; children: Kevin (Nancy) O’Neill of Lincoln, CA, Maureen O’Neill (Jay Oine) of Roseville, MN, Linda (Pat) Nebben of Becker, MN, Mike (Mary) O’Neill of Beardsley, MN, Peggy O’Neill (Tom Burton) of Moorhead, MN, Philip “Bud” (Cathy) O’Neill of Bennett, CO, Laurie (Dale) Haukos of Beardsley, MN, and Kerry O’Neill (Kyle Fossen) of Sartell, MN; 23 Grandchildren; 42 Great-Grandchildren; sisters Margie Reinardy of Hemet, CA, and Valeria Beebe of Helena, MT; brother-in-law Dick Olsen of Fargo, ND; sisters-in-law, Kathy (John) Schlattman of Fargo, ND, Rose (John) Perra of Zumbrota, MN, Helen Swanson of Edina, MN, and Jean O’Neill of Milbank, SD; and countless nieces and nephews. Vivian was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Jeanie Olsen, Connie Hunder, and Darlene Saxton; and brother Wayne Sauer.
Condolences may be sent to Phil O’Neill at the Browns Valley Health Center, 114 S. Jefferson St., Browns Valley, MN, 56219.