Desmond O’Neill, 56, of Manchester, passed away on Sunday, November 7, 2021, at St. Francis Hospital with his loving wife, Lise (Hendsey) by his side.
Besides his wife Lise, he is survived by his brothers Leonard O’Neill and his wife Melanie, of Monterey California, and Thomas “Brian” O’Neill and Nancy Walts of Middletown, CT; his nephews Joseph Berube his wife Carrie, and Thomas Berube and his wife Summer, as well as his grandnieces and nephews Seamus, Neave, Cullen and Finn; as well as his niece Cailan O'Neill Piantek of Higganum, CT, and Erin, Conor and Kate O’Neill of Monterey, CA. Desmond also maintained his relationships with many of his family and Ireland and will be sorely missed, especially by his cousin Mary McGrath. A memorial mass is scheduled for November 14, 2021 in the Village of Burncourt, Co. Tipperary, Ireland where Desmond’s mother Bridie was born.
Desmond met Lise, the love of his life, serendipitously at a Don Henley concert in August of 1989, and they were rarely apart after that. Dogs were always a part of their lives and they often joked that their first dog was the most spoiled. “We bought him a house, a car and his own dog.” Soon after, Desmond found his calling training guide dogs for the blind at Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation. It was a true vocation for him and he loved every minute. He was forever grateful for the guidance and tutelage of Jack and Wendy Volhard during this time.
Family and his Irish heritage were central in Desmond’s life. Family genealogy and traditions were his passions. He was always up for a conversation about who was related to who, and what their life stories were – whether you wanted to talk about it or not! With the passing of his uncle Fr. Daniel O’Neill he became the keeper of the family histories both written and oral.
Family and friends may call on the John F. Tierney Funeral Home, 219 W. Center St., Manchester, on Friday, November 12, 2021, from 4-7 pm. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 13, at 11:00 am at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 41 Park St., Manchester. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to either Mission Wolf or Trustees of Reservations, Martha’s Vineyard.