Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 15, 2013

Laverne Alice 'Honey' O'Neil Died Sept. 5, 2013

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Laverne Alice “Honey” O’Neil, of Traverse City, died at home on Sept. 5, 2013, surrounded by her family. She was born on Aug. 27, 1932, in Iron Mountain, the daughter of Harry and Alice (Johnson) Jacobson.

She graduated from Iron Mountain High School in 1950.

On Valentine’s Day 1953 she married the love of her life, David P. O’Neil, at St. Joseph’s Church in Iron Mountain. In that same year they moved to Traverse City, where they raised six children and where she lived for the remainder of her life — although she always remained homesick, on some level, for her native Upper Peninsula.

She was an inquisitive woman with many interests, both earthly and spiritual, and particularly enjoyed gardening, crossword puzzles and computers. She was a good cook and excelled at making pasties and pies. She had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh.

Her family was her life. Her love for her family was celebrated every Sunday as they gathered at her house for lunch, a weekly event that became known as “Nama Day.” Her loving heart was often extended to those most vulnerable, which is reflected in her work. She worked at the All Faiths Chapel at the Traverse City State Hospital from 1981 to 1989 and at the Father Fred Foundation from its inception in 1989 until this past fall.

She is survived by her children, Debby O’Neil Swaney, Kathy O’Neil, Dan (Maura Brennan) O’Neil, Mary Beth O’Neil, Tim (Mary Ann) O’Neil and Tricia (Nick) Richmond; grandchildren, Jasmine (Ben) Lamb, Cara Swaney, Meg Swaney, Mary O’Neil, John O’Neil, Riley O’Neil, Briggs Richmond, Chase Richmond and Jackson Richmond; brothers, Kenny Jacobson and Bill Andrews; and many nephews and nieces.

She was preceded in death by her husband, David P. O’Neil; her father, Harry Jacobson; her mother, Alice Andrews; her sisters, Joyce “Lolly” Barkle and Shirley Vivio; and brother, Harry Jacobson Jr.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Father Fred Foundation.

Please feel free to share your memories with the family at

The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.