Philip J. O’Neill, age 100 of Beardsley, Minnesota, passed away Thursday, November 7, 2019, at the Browns Valley Health Center.
Visitation for Philip J. O’Neill will be Tuesday, November 12, 2019, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. followed by a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. at the old St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Beardsley, MN. Visitation will continue Wednesday, November 13th from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Browns Valley, MN.
Mass of Christian Burial for Philip John O’Neill will be Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Browns Valley with Father Gregg Frankman officiating.
Burial will be in the St. Mary’s Cemetery, Beardsley, MN. Military honors will be provided by the August Altheide American Legion Post #302 of Beardsley. Pallbearers will be Phil’s grandchildren.
Philip John O’Neill was born August 11, 1919, on the O’Neill Farm in Traverse County to John and Anna (Kenney) O’Neill. As the oldest of John and Anna’s seven children, Philip learned to work hard at a young age, helping his dad milk the cows morning and night. Philip went to Country School District 5 until the 8th grade and graduated from Beardsley High School in 1937. While in high school, he loved playing basketball and baseball.
After graduating, he attended St. Thomas University in St. Paul, MN, for one year. California called Phil and his buddy John Zych in August 1941. There he encountered many new experiences including going to airplane engine school, sitting it out in the dark when the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor, and working at McClellan Air Base. Phil lived a part of history at McClellan Air Base. Unbeknown to him, he assisted in revamping Lt. Col. James Dolittle’s B-25 Bombers that bombed Japan, proving to the Japanese that America could bomb their island empire. Phil joined the United States Coast Guard in 1942 and worked as an Aviation Machinist 1st Class. He had over 2000 hours of flying time patrolling the waters between the continental United States and the Hawaiian Islands. Phil was discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard in February 1946 and returned home.
The next two years Phil made a living as co-owner of Dan’s Café in Browns Valley, working alongside his sister Peg, and brother-in-law Dan Agar. During his time spent in Browns Valley, he met and fell in love with Vivian Sauer, marrying her on June 7, 1948.
In the fall of 1948, Phil and Vivian moved back to the O’Neill Farm and Phil joined forces with his dad and brother Pat in the farming operation. Phil and Pat worked together forming the partnership of O’Neill Brothers for forty years. Most of those years they raised and fed cattle along with farming. This was where Phil and Vivian spent 68 years of their marriage and raised their eight children.
He served on the Beardsley School Board, was a member of the Knights of Columbus, was a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Beardsley, a member of the National Farmers Organization, Legion Post Commander in Browns Valley for one year, Legion Post Commander in Beardsley for one year, and was a member of the Beardsley Legion Post #302 for 75 years.
Phil and Vivian both enjoyed many years of winter activities of riding snowmobile and bowling. They both loved sports and together rarely missed viewing a Gopher game or the Minnesota Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves, or Lynx.
After Phil retired, he turned the O’Neill Farm over to his son Mike. Phil continued to assist Mike with the farming for many years. His love of farming continued as he planted a garden every spring while on the farm.
Phil and Vivian entered the Browns Valley Health Center in September of 2017. While there, Phil continued to attend morning coffee at One More to visit with all his friends. While at BVHC, he attended weekly mass and read the scripture, enjoyed playing bingo and valued his many friends, both staff and residents. What Phil looked forward to most at BVHC was his daily exercises, always trying to stay strong and healthy. Phil was an amazing man, always grateful for what he had, enjoying every day. He was forever reading and learning about something new. He kept up with politics, sports and even technology. Phil’s largest lifelong attribute has been his love of visiting with others and storytelling. These moments always brought a smile and a twinkle to his Irish eyes and to those around him! He was a friend to all he met and will be greatly missed!
Left to cherish Phil’s memory are his 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, Philip “Bud” (Cathy) O’Neill of Bennett, CO, Laurie (Dale) Haukos of Beardsley, and Kerry O’Neill (Kyle Fossen) of Sartell, MN; 23 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren; sister: Rose (John) Perra of Zumbrota, MN; sisters-in-law: Jean O’Neill of Milbank, SD, Valeria Beebe of Helena, MT, Margie Reinardy of Hemet, CA, and Kathy (John) Schlattman of Fargo, ND; brother-in-law: Dick Olsen of Fargo, ND; and countless nieces and nephews.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents; his wife: Vivian on January 8, 2019; daughter: Peggy and son-in-law: Tom Burton on July 19, 2019; brothers: Pat and Gene; and sisters: Peg, Helen, and Claire.
Arrangements with Eggers Funeral Home in Rosholt, SD.