Floral 22
Official Obituary of

Sheila Kathleen O'Neill

November 4, 1937 ~ February 6, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old

Sheila O'Neill Obituary

Sheila Kathleen O’Neill, born in Newton Massachusetts on November 4, 1937 passed away at the age of 86 after a valiant fight with cancer on February 6, 2024.  The second of three children of Leo Jeffrey O’Neill and Eleanor Sullivan O’Neill, Sheila was a confident self-assured woman who never stopped taking on challenges, learning and contributing to the world.

After a childhood in Lima Peru, Sheila graduated from Stoneleigh-Prospect Hill School in Massachusetts and went to Connecticut Women’s College, graduating in 1959.  After a few years working in New York and a few more studying Latin America at Georgetown University, Sheila began working for the State Department, living and working in Washington D.C and all over Latin America including Ecuador, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil.  Retiring from the Central Intelligence Agency after 30 years in 1994, Sheila taught English as a second language in Montgomery County Maryland for the next 25 years.

A life-long lover of horses, Sheila and Gladiator, Magnum, Fairfax and Vodermus (to name a few) competed in cross-country and dressage.  She remained a fixture at the barn after she hung up her stirrups after a few to many broken bones (in her late 70s).  Her love for horses was only exceeded by that for standard poodles who shared her life all over the world. (Peppine, Toby, Lucas, Teddy, and Alice were true companions and most were also competitors in obedience and agility).  Cats also shared Sheila’s household and she was known for walking her two poodles around her Bethesda neighborhood with the cats trailing along.

Amazingly fluent in languages, Sheila spoke Spanish and Portuguese and was teaching herself Italian even over the last two years when cancer had given her a limited timeline.  A guitar player for more than 50 years, she continued to advance those skills as well, taking lessons and attending concerts with friends until the last few weeks of her life.

A life-long Catholic, Sheila was active in her church and Bible study and both a friend and an inspiration to the many people she touched there and in all of the other activities in which she participated.  She helped find homes for rescued poodles and contributed to charities devoted to serving the least fortunate throughout the world.  Predeceased by her two brothers, Jeffrey Stephen O’Neill and Hugh O’Neill, Sheila is survived by her sisters-in-law, Barbara Gascon O’Neill and Loretta Hoerman, her nieces Carol O’Neill and Kathleen O’Neill and her nephews Stephen O’Neill and Brian Dawson, as well as her grandnieces and grandnephews.


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