Peacefully at Orillia Soldier’s Memorial Hospital, on Sunday, November 19, 2023, at the age of 89. Dearly beloved husband of the late Helena O’Neill (Woods). Loving father of Kevin (Christina), Anne (Roy) Bradt, and the late Kathleen. Cherished grandfather of Sean, Jamie, Nicholas, and Shauna. He is predeceased by his parents Jane and Michael O’Neill and his siblings, the late Bernard (Rosie), the late Michael (Veronica), the late Daniel (Bridgit), the late Kathleen (Patrick) O’Kane and the late Peter (Mary-Ellen).
John came to Canada in 1958, looking for better opportunities. He met his wife, Helena Woods at an Irish Dance in Toronto. He had to propose to her twice but he finally got her to say “yes”. They celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary this past September.
John was a carpenter tradesman and a milkman before joining the TTC in 1964. He retired exactly 30 years to the day. He was a favourite to his regulars, enjoying boxes of chocolate at Christmastime. He often would stick out his false teeth to unsuspecting children in the cars in front of the bus or to the side. His favourite driving expression was that he could “park a bus better than that guy can park a car.”
John was an active member of the County Tyrone Association. He would often help with St. Patrick’s Day Parade floats and dances. He enjoyed playing cards, often hosting friends and neighbours on Friday evenings in the dining room.
John and Helena were active parishioners at St. Benedict’s Parish, often helping to run the St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve dances. They had their seats at the back of the church and people at the 9:15 am mass knew to leave the O’Neill’s seats empty until they arrived. On their last Sunday before moving to Orillia, friends put signs on their seats. Like his late wife Helena, religion was of the utmost importance to John.
John was known as the go-to guy when the widows in Rexdale needed anything fixed in their homes. Day or night, “his” widows knew they could call John and he would be there to fix a leaky faucet, build something up or take something down. He took his widows shopping, to appointments and to church. There wasn’t much John couldn’t build or fix.
John was happiest when he had his family around. For birthdays and holidays, all he wanted was to see his children and grandchildren. He was often seen wrestling with the grandchildren on their visits. They understood what to fetch from the fridge when Papa asked for “Papa Juice”.
John battled heart disease for over 20 years. He was heartbroken over losing Helena. He joined her 10 days after she died of COVID.
John will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by his family and friends. Friends and relatives will be received at the Mundell Funeral Home, 79 West St. N., Orillia, on Wednesday evening, November 22, 2023, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Parish prayers begin at 5:45 pm. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Guardian Angels Church 115 West Street N, Orillia, on Thursday, November 23, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Cremation to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation would be appreciated. Online condolences at www.mundellfuneralhome.com.