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Margaret O'Neill

Margaret W. "Peg" O'Neill (Welch)

Saturday, August 16th, 1924 - Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
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Margaret W. O’Neill, known affectionately to her friends as “Peg” and her family as “Nunnie,” passed away on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at in Scarborough Terrace, with her family by her side. She was born in Biddeford, Maine, on August 16, 1924, the daughter of Frank and Julia Daly Welch. Margaret attended Biddeford schools, graduating from Biddeford High School in 1942.
Margaret married William (Will) J. O’Neill on January 18, 1945, at St. Mary’s Church in Biddeford, while Will was on a two-week leave from serving his country in the United States Navy during WWII. The couple met when William, who attended Saco schools, saw Margaret, a cheerleader for the Biddeford Tigers, across a crowded football field. Margaret and William enjoyed a deeply loving and devoted marriage of 61 years, until his death in 2006.
After the end of the war, Margaret sought to further her education and career. While living and teaching in Fort Kent, Maine, she worked at the Task Training School for Handicapped Children. There, in her own words, her “goal for life was set – (she) would work with Special Needs children as a career.” She and Will also took advantage of their beautiful surroundings, and spent a great deal of time camping and exploring the Maine woods.
Margaret and Will had two children, Joseph Michael and Maureen, and the family moved to Connecticut in the late 1960s, where she worked and studied at the University of Connecticut. There, she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 1967 and a Master’s Degree in Special Education in 1969. She later worked as a teacher for Special Needs and Learning Disabled students in Danielson and Brooklyn, Connecticut. She also served as chairperson of the Democratic Town Committee in Brooklyn, Connecticut.
Margaret returned to Southern Maine with her family in 1975, serving as the Director of Special Education in the Old Orchard Beach school system, where she was awarded Teacher of the Year for Old Orchard Beach in 1979. In 1987, Margaret and Will, also a passionate educator, coordinated their retirements for the same day, and departed that very evening to fly to Europe, marking the beginning of their extensive annual travels around the globe in their shared retirement. In addition to destinations in Europe including Poland, Malta, Greece, Russia and Ireland, Margaret and Will also traveled to China, never tiring in their quest for adventure and knowledge.
Despite the thrill of visiting new corners of the globe, Margaret, a devoted and caring mother and grandmother to her two children and three grandchildren, was happiest when she was with her family. She and Will spent many happy golden years in their cozy home at Fortunes Rocks, Biddeford, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, where they were fond of rising each morning, no matter the weather, to share a walk along the beach at dawn.
Margaret cared for Will with her characteristic quiet strength, devotion and unyielding positivity in the final years of his life. After his death, she lived for several years with her daughter and son-in-law in Biddeford, and then in assisted living facilities in Saco and Scarborough, where she was known for her warmth, good humor, and as the life of every party. In her final years, Margaret enjoyed watching and cheering for all New England sports teams, especially the Boston Red Sox. Her sparkling sense of humor never waned, nor did her adventurous spirit. Even after her 90th birthday, she loved trying new things, whether it was sushi for the first time, or going for a spin in an open-top Land Cruiser equipped with racing harnesses instead of seat belts. She was always quick to offer candy to visitors or to tell relatives on the other end of a phone call to “reverse the charges.” Her twinkling blue eyes and wonderful laugh will never fade from the memories of those who loved her.
Margaret was predeceased by parents, Julia and Francis A. Welch, and brothers, Francis and Robert Welch. She is survived by her loving family; son, Joseph Michael of Manchester, Connecticut; daughter Maureen Butler and her husband James, of Dayton, Maine, grandchildren Julia M. Butler, of Boston, Mass.; Samuel W. Butler, Captain, U.S. Army, Fort Benning, GA and John R. Butler, of Stoughton, Mass. She is now reunited with her beloved husband, Will, who preceded her in death on July 26th, 2006.
Visiting hours will be held from 4 Pm to 7 Pm, Friday March 8th, at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk, ME. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 9th at 10 am at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, in Biddeford.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish, may make a contribution in Margaret’s memory to: RSU#23, Special Education, C/O Helene Stevens, 40 E Emerson Cummings Blvd, Old Orchard Beach, Maine 04064
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, March 8th, 2019 | 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    Friday, March 8th, 2019 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    Bibber Memorial Chapel-Kennebunk
    67 Summer Street
    KENNEBUNK, ME 04043
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, March 9th, 2019 | 10:00am
    Saturday, March 9th, 2019 10:00am
    St. Joseph's Church
    178 Elm St.
    BIDDEFORD, ME 04005
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery
    537 Elm St.
    BIDDEFORD, ME 04005
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Penny Hatzikou

Posted at 06:08pm
Margaret must have been the sweetest and most positive person I have ever known!!!!! Her generous warm smile will remain in my memory and I will always remember her dearly. It is a great fortune for her loved ones to have had her in their lives and her love and positive nature is for them the most cherished treasure. You are very lucky to have had such a wonderful mother and grandmother. She will be missed greatly. My condolences to all of you.
Penny Hatzikou

jonathan hussey

Posted at 03:42pm
My thoughts and prayers to Maureen - Julia - Sam - John and Jim.
Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
~Rossiter Worthington Raymond
May God give you…For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.

Jonathan and Kathryn Hussey

Lisa Potvin and Rob Ross

Posted at 07:47am
Donation Image
A donation was made in memory of Margaret O'Neill

Lisa Potvin

Posted at 07:28am
What a lovely lady. Many fond memories of her and her husband. Full of life, laughter, love, and energy. Model friends and citizens. She will be missed. Condolences to the family.

Sarah-Jane , Lucy and John Poli

Posted at 06:53pm
Our deepest sympathy to Margaret's family.

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Book of Memories - Bibber Memorial Chapel
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207-985-2752 Bibber Memorial Chapel
67 Summer Street
Kennebunk, ME 04043
207-985-2752 Bibber Memorial Chapel
67 Summer Street
Kennebunk, ME 04043