Tom O’Neill, 67 of Rochester died with his wife at his side on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at Golden Living West Nursing Center, following a long battle with Kennedy’s Disease.
Tom was born on August 1, 1948 to William E. and Loretta (Fitzgerald) O’Neill on the family farm. Growing up on the O’Neill family farm in Marion Township, he attended grade school at Simpson, MN and graduated from Rochester John Marshall High School in 1966. As a youth, he was active in 4H. He was especially proud that in 1965, his American Saddlebred horse, Java won the overall championship at the Olmsted Co. Fair. Tom served during the Vietnam War in the US Marine Corps from October 1966 until October of 1969. He was in the Tet battle of 1968 while with the 27th Marine 2nd Battalion H Co. After honorable discharge, he returned to the family farm, where he found farming very fulfilling. On December 2, 1978 he married Nancy K. Foster at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Simpson, MN.
Later, Tom had to stop farming due to failing health in 1991. Soon thereafter he became a Commodity Broker for ADM-Benson Quinn for eleven years, which included teaching classes to educate local farmers on Marketing. Tom served on the Marion Township Board for nine years, helped coach little league baseball, and was actively involved in Boy Scouting for many years with Troop 186 (St. Francis Church). Tom always felt he was blessed in all he did, and had no regrets in life. Over his lifetime, Tom lived through some extremely difficult and challenging circumstances. Even in the face of these things, Tom practiced patience in the face of suffering. He is survived by his wife Nancy, his sister Peggy O’Neill of Denver, CO, and his brother Mike (Yvonne) O’Neill of Rochester. He is preceded in death by his son Tyler (2003), his sister Delores Sullivan, his brother Pat O’Neill and his parents.