Terrance Leo O’Neill, 83, of Champaign, died Wednesday March 13, 2019 at Carle Hospital in Urbana.
Terry, as he was known, was born May 4, 1935, at Burnham City Hospital in Champaign, the youngest child of Thomas Leo and Sarah (Bates) O’Neill, who brought him back to the family home on West John Street, where he was raised and where he would live his entire life.
Terry graduated from Champaign High School in 1953. He was captain of the Maroons football team and he ran track. He earned a BS in Business Administration from the University of Illinois. He was a staunch supporter of the University, the U of I Foundation, and Fighting Illini athletics, especially Illinois Baseball and the 1998 Big Ten Championship team on which his son Dan played. He was active in the Rotary Club of Champaign for 50 years, and he was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Elks Club.
In 1957, Terry joined Champaign Asphalt Company, the family business founded by his father. He served successively as Vice-President, President and Chairman of the Board until he retired in 2003.
In 1962, he married Julia Friedman of Champaign, and together they raised 4 children. His wife survives him as do his sisters, Alice Lamb of Champaign and Rose O’Neill of Chicago; his children – Tom (Ann David) of Chicago, Margaret Marbury (Sascha) of Maplewood, NJ; Thad (Kristina Marcus) of Dayton, OH; and Dan (Jillian) of Houston, TX; 10 grandchildren ages 6-30, and one great-grandchild.
Terry was deeply and firmly rooted in Champaign and East Central IL, a descendant of Irish immigrant farmers who settled in and around Tolono and Philo in southern Champaign County. He knew the land and the roads; he knew the people in the community from all walks. He was compassionate, humble, curious, friendly, approachable and a genuinely nice man, who could talk to anyone and everyone, and he did. He left an impression and was memorable to many. His first question to a new acquaintance was, “Where are you from?” Place mattered to him. Other places he loved included Golden Beach Florida, where he vacationed for decades and loved swimming in the ocean; Champaign Country Club, where he was frequently found in the exercise room; the U of I South Farms, where he rode his bicycle; and Culver Academy in Indiana, where he went to summer camp in the 1950s and where his children and many of his grandchildren also spent their summers on Lake Maxinkuckee.
He loved Julie immensely, and he was most proud of his children and their accomplishments. His children loved him for trusting in them, giving them independence and encouragement, and for always being there for them. Always.
Terry was a lifelong parishioner of Holy Cross Catholic Church. He went to grade school at Holy Cross, married Julie there, and attended Mass there throughout his life. We will celebrate his funeral Mass at Holy Cross, 405 West Clark Street, Champaign, on Monday March 18 at 10 am. Burial will be at St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Tolono.
Visitation will be from 4-7 pm Sunday March 17, with a Rosary at 3:30 pm, at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Terry’s name may be made to Holy Cross School, 410 West White Street, Champaign, 61820.
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