Date of death: 6/20/2021
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1955
James J. O’Neill, 92, passed away June 20, 2021. He was born December 5, 1928 in Muncie, IN to the late Jerry H. and Christine (Wiesse) O’Neill.
James is survived by his loving spouse, Janice C. (Gerhards) O’Neill; sons, Patrick (Teri), Michael (Brenda) and Casey (Tammi) Fitzgerald; daughter, Molly (William) Fulton; brother, Jack O’Neill; and 8 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister, Marilyn McPhaul.
He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest of the diocese of Lafayette in Indiana in 1955. Jim served as a priest in parishes in Fowler, Marion, Montpelier and Wheatfield/DeMotte, Indiana from 1955 to 1970. From 1970-1972, he was the Chaplain at St. Jospeh Hospital in Kokomo, IN. Jim left the priesthood in 1972. He directed the first alternative school for the Kokomo Public School System from 1972-1974. He was the coordinator of addiction services at the Regional Mental Health Center of the Howard Community Hospital from 1974-1975. From 1975-1977, Jim was the executive director of the Opportunities Industrialization Center, which was the federally funded job training and placement program for Howard and Grant counties. In 1977, Jim and his family started construction of a solar home in northern Delaware County at the Center for Peace and Life Studies. From 1977-1992, Jim was a teacher and counselor at Delaware County Schools, Indiana.
Throughout his adult life, Jim has been actively involved in issues of diversity, peace and justice. In 1965, Jim marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Selma to Montgomery march. Here are some organizations he was involved with: Urban League in Marion, Indiana; Delaware County Human Relations Council; Howard County Drug Abuse Council; Inter-Religious Council of Delaware County; Family Advisory Board of the Indianapolis Chapter of the Child Abuse Prevention Council; American Lung Association; Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center; mediators for the Victim/Offender Program at the Juvenile Center for the Marion County Superior Court; and Peace Learning Center at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. Jim loved theater, music, traveling, golfing, fishing, camping, skiing, drinking beer and he was a master of puns.