Richard M. O’Neill, 75

Richard M. O’Neill, 75 of Ridgefield, died in the arms of his family at home on December 4, 2016 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. He will be remembered by all who knew him as an incredibly dedicated, mentoring, smart, fun-loving, sweet, kind, caring soul, with wonderful values.

Born in Staten Island, NY in 1941, Dick, as he was known to friends, was industrious with a strong work ethic, beginning as a child with his paper route. He attended St. Peter’s Boys High School in S.I., and upon graduation worked for the Benjamin Moore Paint Company, where he met his wife. While working days there, he attended night school for both his undergraduate and graduate studies, and received a B.A. and M.B.A in Financial Management, both from Pace University.

Most of his career was spent at MBI, a direct marketer of collectible and commemorative products under the trade names Danbury Mint, Postal Commemorative Society and the Easton Press. He spent more than 25 years with the firm, where he held the positions of Senior Marketing Manager, Senior VP of Marketing and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer.

Dick had manifold interests and hobbies. He loved golf, good wine, and fishing. He was an avid sportsman—a long-standing member of the Campfire Club, an organization dedicated to sports afield and wildlife conservation, where he also served on the Board of Governors. He was extremely active in the Atlantic Indians, another sporting organization where he rose to the rank of President/High Chief. For the Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited, a nation-wide organization dedicated to conserving and protecting cold water fisheries and their watersheds; Dick served in a host of roles, with his passion and dedication resulting in his being elected Chapter President for three consecutive terms. It was really in his love of teaching — engaging the next generation of river stewards — where Dick truly found his calling. For the last few years, he played the lead role in T.U.’s “Trout in the Classroom Program” — partnering with over a dozen local schools and community education programs to bring hands-on science education to more than 1,000 students each year. He also participated in an annual fishing event for the Special Olympics where the thrill on the faces of the participants was matched only by that on Dick’s own face.

He was extremely active in Sacred Heart Church in Georgetown, CT. He chaired a variety of committees within the church, including the Finance Committee and he was President of the Parish Council. He was also a Religious Education teacher for many years, and sang in the choir where he was a frequent soloist and Cantor. A gifted Tenor, his voice frequently garnered compliments. He and his wife’s contributions to the church resulted in their being given the 2011 St. Augustine Medal for “generous and loving service to the church,” awarded annually by the Diocese of Bridgeport.

He loved life, people, the outdoors, and most of all, his family. He was a devoted husband, father, brother and uncle. He was a particularly proud and engaged grandfather. The number of individuals who have expressed their appreciation for his fatherly love and guidance is truly astounding.

He is survived by his wife Margaret O’Neill, his daughter Elizabeth O’Neill, her husband Jim Echikson, and their son, Joshua, Dick’s adoring grandson.

Calling Hours will be held on Friday, December 9, 2016 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM at Kane Funeral Home; 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, December 10, 2016, the date of his and Margaret’s 51st Wedding Anniversary at 10:30 AM at Sacred Heart Church; 30 Church Street, Georgetown. Interment will follow in St. Mary Cemetery, Ridgefield.

Memorial contributions can be made in Dick’s name to the Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited or Sacred Heart Church.