George Thomas O’Neil Jr.
George Thomas O’Neil Jr., 77, of Tower Hill Rd., North Kingstown, passed away July 17, 2011 at South County Hospital after a long illness. He leaves his wife of 58 years, Dorothy June (Reynolds) O’Neil.
The son of the late George T. O’Neil Sr. and Beatrice (Bardsley) O’Neil, he was born July 28, 1933 in Pawtucket and spent his formative years in the Lonsdale section of town. With the advent of World War II, the family moved to Wickford, where George spent the rest of his adult life.
Mr. O’Neil graduated from North Kingstown High School. The first in his family to attend college, he went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts, double-majoring in history and economics, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island in 1962. He then studied at Harvard University under a graduate fellowship, assisting with the development of what is known as the “Harvard Case Method.”
Mr. O’Neil was a lifelong educator who taught history and economics at Cranston West High School, retiring in 1990. While at Cranston West, he co-developed and received funding for a “Project EPIC” learning program that challenged students through firsthand involvement outside of the classroom on subjects such as censorship, victimless crime, pollution, politics and religion.
Mr. O’Neil and his wife are internationally recognized breeders of “Field Spaniels” and Clumber Spaniels,” producing numerous U.S. and internationally ranked champions. George and June popularized the “Field Spaniel” breed in the United States. During the 1980s their “Wicksfords Kennel” captured “Best in Breed” for five consecutive years in the Sporting Group at the Westminster Dog Club annual show in New York City, considered by some as the pinnacle of achievement for dog breeders.
George was dedicated to helping others as a teacher, father, friend, advisor and husband. He will be missed through the lives on those who learned from him.
Besides his wife he also leaves a sister, Audrey Fletcher of Orlando, Fla.; three sons, George T. O’Neil III of Thompson, Conn., Mark A. O’Neil of Erie, Pa. and Patrick R. O’Neil of Old Lyme, Conn., and six grandchildren.
A private memorial service will be held at a future date to be determined for the family and immediate friends.