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Mary Viola 'Vi' O'Neil


Mary Viola 'Vi' O'Neil

O’NEIL, Mary Viola "Vi" –  It is with great sadness we announce the peaceful passing of our dear mother, Mary Viola "Vi" O’Neil, 97, surrounded by her loving family, in St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, Antigonish, on Sunday, August 14, 2011.

Born on March 8, 1914 in New Glasgow, she was the daughter of the late John and Josephine (Richard) Meagher. When she was approximately nine years old, her father moved the family to Boylston, Guysborough Co. to take over the operation of his father’s farm. Prior to her marriage, she was employed at the Halifax Infirmary.

She married Alphonse "Phonse" O’Neil on April 26, 1937 at St. Ann Church in Guysborough. They then moved to Mulgrave where they built their own home and spent 71 years of married life. As a young wife Mama did embroidery, knitting and sewing. She attended evening sewing classes for 3 years under the skillful instruction of her dear sister-in-law, Molly Strachen. During her earlier years she was a faithful member of the Altar Society, taking her turn to clean and decorate the church, often with fresh flowers from Dad’s garden. Our mother was an excellent cook who prepared wonderful dinners for her family and friends. Even in later years she was not afraid to try a new recipe, her biscuits being a special treat and a favourite enjoyed by many. Her specialty Christmas fruit cakes and fudge were particularly enjoyed by the many who sat for tea and lunch at our home over the years. Mama loved the war time songs sung by Vera Lynn and Kate Smith, also the music of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Guy Lombardo and Mario Lanza. Mama and Dad were beautiful dancers and they attended many dances during the war years while Papa babysat us. Mama’s strong faith saw her through numerous health issues and the death of Dad. She was a quiet, strong, peaceful and very wise woman, a trusted friend and confidant.

Mama is survived by her children, Joan Houlder, Thunder Bay, Ont; Sr. Gwendolyn O’Neil, CND, Mabou, NS; Maureen (Bob) Troman, Calgary, AB; Kevin O’Neil, Mulgrave, NS; Mary (Lanny Der), Edmonton, AB; grandchildren, Susan Houlder, Bill Houlder, Lisa (Jim) Houlder-Bothwell, Robert (Wendy) Houlder, Sean (Terri) Simpson, Kevin Simpson, Brian Simpson, Shannon (Dwight) Watts, Eli Der, Amanda Der; great-grandchildren, Brendan and Monica Simpson, Chloe and Dalton Houlder, Mitchell, Claire and Ian Bothwell, Parker and Lyla Houlder; sister, Helen Dunn, Trenton NS; sister-in-law, Betty O’Neil, Mulgrave, NS; and dear friend and sister-in-law, Emily Cohoon, Auld’s Cove, NS; and many nieces and nephews. Besides her parents, she was predeceased by her brothers, Adam and Maurice Meagher.

We the family , wish to thank Mama’s competent and compassionate care givers of the Guysborough County Home Support Agency, Continuing Care, the RK MacDonald Nursing Home, St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, the Pastoral Care Team at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, and all of the physicians and other health care providers who cared for mama over the years.

Visitation will be on Friday, August 19 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. in the Mulgrave and Area Resting Place. Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, August 20, at 12 noon, from St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church, Mulgrave, with Fr. Lloyd O’Neill officiating. Donations may be made to the Mulgrave and Area Resting Place, or to a charity of one’s choice. Funeral arrangements for Mrs. O’Neil are under the care and direction of the Dennis Haverstock Funeral Home, Port Hawkesbury. Words of comfort may be forwarded to the family at

Service Date
Saturday, August 20, 2011