Rosaleen Doyle O’Neill died peacefully at home in Rye, N.Y. on March 28, 2020, two months before her 90th birthday.
Born into a prominent San Francisco family, she graduated from Dominican Convent in 1948. She completed coursework at Dominican College before joining her parents and aunt on an extended European vacation. That holiday ignited her love of Europe and she later attended The American Conservatory at Fontainebleau where she studied piano under Nadia Boulanger.
In the late 1950s, she traveled to Europe again and when in Rome, at her brother’s urging, she telephoned his close friend Jim O’Neill. They immediately fell in love and were married in Rome in June 1960. Rosaleen, Jim, and their four Roman-born children: Katie, Mary, Brigid, and Sean, lived “la dolce vita” until the summer of 1975. Upon returning to the United States, Mrs. O’Neill found the perfect house in Rye and she lived there until her death.
Rosaleen O’Neill was a woman of many interests. She volunteered for a number of local charities, fostered a child for nearly three years, played tennis, swam regularly, attended the Metropolitan Opera seasonally, and volunteered for the Rye Democrats. In the end, her heart belonged to Meals on Wheels where she started as a driver, became the chairman, and wore many other hats.
In the words of Steve Otis, a longtime friend, “Rosaleen was a force of nature. There was no one like her. Her heart was huge; her laugh lit up the world; her strength, faith, and generosity were unmatched. Her fortitude in the face of devastating adversity and her deep love for her family were an inspiration to everyone who knew her. And, there was no one who was more fun to be with.”
She will be remembered for her love of dogs, music, and wine. She was an enthusiastic and loyal friend and mother. She possessed an indomitable spirit and brought joy to so many. Her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren will miss her terribly, as will her two sisters in San Francisco, a myriad of nieces and nephews, and many friends.
A celebration of Rosaleen O’Neill’s life will be held at a future date.
Donations in her memory may be made to Meals on Wheels of P.C., Rye and Rye Brook, P.O. Box 555, Rye, NY 10580, or Humane Society of Westchester, 70 Portman Road, New Rochelle, NY 10801