The recent passing of our loving, brilliant and inspirational Stephen may certainly have generated sorrow and tears, but everyone whose lives were touched by this accomplished man must also know in their hearts that such sadness will surely be replaced by joy-filled memories of a remarkable individual. How could it be otherwise?
Whatever he set his dazzling mind to – from leading a construction project to writing a computer program—he mastered. More importantly, whenever he gave his heart to something – from building his beautiful family of four children with his wife Susan to volunteering for a leadership position with an amateur-sport group – he held nothing back.
Born in Brandon, Manitoba, Steve was the fifth of what would be the seven sons of John Joseph and Mary Patricia (nee Davis) O’Neill. He graduated with honours from Vancouver College in 1975 and from the University of B.C., earning a degree in civil engineering, in 1981 – the same year he married Susan (after dating only six months!).
Daughter Jaclyn was born in 1983, followed by sons Shane (1985), Colin (1987) and Blair (1989). The 21st Century saw the birth of the apple of Steve’s eye, grandson Julian (son of Jaclyn and husband Chris), who was born in 2017. Steve was also elated to welcome Kate to the family at Shane's wedding in April.
It can be fairly said that Steve was passionate about real estate development and construction. He relished brainstorming various development concepts and construction methods, backed by his great engineering mind. He most recently applied these talents with Coromandel Properties as their VP, Construction, where he also enjoyed a role as mentor.
His legacy can also be found in the many organizations to which he gave freely of his time, talent and mentorship. He was chair of the Parish Council at St. Pius X Parish in North Vancouver, where he oversaw the construction of the parish elementary school. He was a co-founder and board member of the Vancouver Spirit Run, and also a long-time board member and president of the NorWesters Track and Field Club. And then there were the many volunteer jobs supporting his children’s sporting activities – baseball coach, hockey manager, and track-meet official.
It must also be said that the grace, courage, and resiliency with which he met his July, 2017 diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer will forever be a vital part of Stephen’s outstanding legacy. The burden was lessened by the outpouring of love and support from his extended family, friends and colleagues.
It was thanks to the expert care of the BC Cancer Agency that Stephen was able to live well past what the family had initially expected and for that they are very grateful to the care provided by Dr. Sharlene Gill at BCCA, Dr. Simon Yu at Burnaby General, and the team of chemotherapy nurses who treated him. The family is also most appreciative of the extraordinary and compassionate care provided by Dr. David Williscroft and the team of nurses at St. Paul’s Palliative Care.
Stephen will be sorely missed by a great many friends and relatives, especially by Sue and his children, of course, and also his father Jack, and brothers Robert, Terence, Kevin, Lawrence, Douglas and John and their families; he was predeceased in 2012 by his mother, Pat.
A funeral mass will be held on Tuesday, September 11th at 11:30 am at St. Pius X Parish, 1150 Mt Seymour Rd, North Vancouver with a reception to follow at Capilano Golf & Country Club at 1 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to the St. Paul's Foundation in gratitude for the excellent care he received. http://donate.helpstpauls.com/goto/steveoneill