Hundreds Gather to Celebrate Steve O'Neil's Legacy

Posted at: 07/21/2013 9:00 PM | Updated at: 07/22/2013 11:54 AM
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday to remember a Duluth leader and friend, Steve O'Neil. O'Neil lost his battle to thyroid cancer last Tuesday.

His memorial service was held inside Symphony Hall at the DECC. While many people had heavy hearts, O'Neil's memory was celebrated with music and laughter.

O'Neil served people in many ways. He was a Saint Louis County Commissioner and advocate for the homeless, but most importantly he was a father, husband and friend.

"He has such a strong commitment to family," O'Neil's sister Janet Moss said.

Moss was one of several people who shared stories and memories at Sunday's service.

"I walk away from it being challenged to try in some way live up to the bar that he has set," Moss said.

A bar that friends and colleagues are humbled by.

"I think all members would agree that Steve O'Neil, in his office and his time that he was there, set the bar for what a public leader should be," Saint Louis County Board Chair Chris Dahlberg said.

"I think he taught a lot of us very well and in the spirit of Steve O'Neil I think the work will continue," CHUM Outreach Worker Deb Holman said.

Also in the crowd, people who are forever changed by O'Neil's work to help others.

"I was homeless and he found me shelter," friend Tommy O'Neill said. "I was hungry and he took me to countless lunches."

Tommy O'Neill said that was 15 years ago and he credits Steve O'Neil for his success. Tommy O'Neill now has a home and good friends.

Tommy O'Neill said he'll never forget the last thing Steve O'Neil said to him.

"I'm proud of you," Tommy O'Neill said. "So, you know for me it's a love story and I'm going to miss my dear friend."

It seems no matter how people knew Steve O'Neil, the impact he made on this community will be remembered for years to come.

Print Story | Email

Search WDIO: