Thomas O’Neil | Obituary

Thomas O’Neil | Obituary

Tom was born June 24, 1928 in Auburn WA to

Thomas O’Neil Sr. and Carolyn Mescher O’Neil.

During his Auburn high school years he was active

in three sports and received five letters. He sang

in the chorus and boys’ quartet, acted in theatrical

productions, and graduated in 1947. He was granted

a basketball scholarship to Gonzaga University, and

while there he received a BA degree in Economics,

was designated a distinguished military graduate and

commissioned an Army Second Lieutenant. Tom

requested immediate active duty and was assigned

to the infantry school at Fort Benning GA where he

received training as a paratrooper and heavy drop

officer. Following training he was assigned platoon

leader with the elite 82nd Airborne Division at

Fort Bragg NC and he received jungle training in

Panama. After two years active duty as Company

Executive Officer and Company Commander, Tom

returned to Auburn and was accepted to the Executive Training Program with the American

Automotive Insurance Company in St. Louis MO. He spent the next 34 years in various

insurance sales and management positions in St Louis MO, San Jose CA and Seattle WA, and

the last 18 years with the Great American Insurance Company in sales and underwriting of

large complex commercial accounts. He was active in industry committees and associations

and served for a year as president of the Washington Insurance Underwriters Association. He

was a member of the Presidents Council at Gonzaga University for 25 years and a loyal “ZAG”

fan forever. With his close friend Helen Ziebell he worked for many years tracing his ancestors

back to Ireland and Germany. After his retirement in 1988 he cruised, traveled and engaged in

all family activities. The most important part of Tom’s life was always family. He will be greatly

missed by all who loved him. Tom is survived by his nephews Dave (Anne) and Larry (Lori)

O’Neil, nieces Joan (Randy) Cox, Janet (George) Josten and many great and great-great nieces

and nephews. Services were held on August 6, 2020 at Sumner Cemetery where he will be laid

to rest. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the Gonzaga University Student

Scholarship Fund, the Heart Fund or any charity of your choice.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Obituaries

Raymond (“Ray”) Thomas Boehne | Obituary

Raymond (“Ray”) Thomas Boehne | Obituary

Murray M. Board, Jr. | Obituary

A devoted husband, father and grandfather, Murray passed away at his home… Continue reading

Jewel Vernella Gilcrease | Obituary

On Friday, June 12, 2020 Jewel Vernella Gilcrease passed away peacefully at… Continue reading

Jeannette Marie Burns
Jeannette Marie Burns | Obituary

Jeannette Marie Burns, a loving wife and mother, passed away July 30,… Continue reading

Luther Lee Hoefert | Obituary

Auburn Real Estate Legend and all-around wonderful husband, father, Bonka (to his… Continue reading

James (Jim) Nannery | Obituary

In the company of his family, James (Jim) Nannery died peacefully in… Continue reading

Jose De Jesus Mora-Jimenez | Obituary

Jose De Jesus Mora-Jimenez was born March 11, 1942 to Tiburcio Mora-Luna… Continue reading

Donald John Benson | Obituary

Donald “Don” John Benson, a long time resident of Auburn, left his… Continue reading

Most Read