CHESTER, Vt. – Mark J. O’Neil, 75, passed away peacefully on Saturday evening, Feb. 3, 2018 at the Springfield Hospital in Springfield, Vt. He was born April 9, 1942 in Burlington, Vt. the son of James J. O’Neil and Alice Marguerite (Steams) Scott. He attended Chester schools, graduating from Chester High School class of 1961.
He owned and operated O’Neil’s Garage for many years in several Chester locations; on Dodge Road, at the former Jiffy Mart and Soap Shed locations, and later worked at Brownie’s Garage, which became Benny’s Sunoco. He finished his career at Benny’s Sales & Service on Elm Street.
O’Neil served as a member of the Chester Fire Department, joining in 1964 at the age of 22 and retiring 45 years later. Upon his retirement, he was recognized by the Chester Select Board for his many years of service and as the longest serving firefighter to serve the Chester Fire Department. He retired as assistant chief.
O’Neil was instrumental in maintaining Chester’s 1931 American LaFrance fire truck and drove it in dozens of Chester’s parades. He can be remembered as a big participant of the Class of 1961’s alumni parade celebrations.
O’Neil enjoyed racing stock cars at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt. and running the rope tow at the Chester Pinnacle. He loved to watch racing and westerns on TV.
O’Neil is survived by his son and daughter-in law Michael and Amy O’Neil of Ludlow, Vt., his daughter Beth O’Neil of Golden, Colo., his grandchildren Marlee O’Neil of Stratham, N.H., Mitchell O’Neil of Ludlow, Vt., and Christian O’Neil and Miles Dalebroux both of Golden, Colo. He was proud of their accomplishments and never forgot a birthday. He is also survived by his longtime companion, Audrey Fletcher of Springfield, Vt.
He was predeceased by his parents and stepfather Wendell Scott.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the American Legion in Chester on May 19, 2018 at 2 p.m. Contributions may be made in his memory to the Yosemite Engine Company, P.O. Box 631, Chester, VT, 05143.
Davis Memorial Chapel in Springfield, Vt. is assisting with arrangements.