Jeanne M. O’Neill

Jeanne Marie Kathryn Germano O’Neill passed away Oct. 27, 2023, from complications of dementia. She was 92.

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on May 23, 1931, her quick intellect and vast abilities were rewarded with scholarships to Catholic grade school and high school; a straight-A student all her life (and a field hockey star!), she finished at the top of her class at Marywood Seminary. Jeanne was the daughter of James J. and Kathryn R. (neé Duggan) Germano, and the younger sister of Lois Ann Germano Latour, who all predeceased her.

She married the love of her life, Paul D. O’Neill, on March 31, 1951, and embarked on an adventure that quickly took her in one short year from a New York City honeymoon to life as a Navy wife in Norfolk, Virginia, to a home in Washington, D.C., upon Paul’s separation from active duty. The couple made their home in Washington, D.C., and Prince George’s County, Maryland, for the next 50 years, until Jeanne moved to Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and then Baltimore County, Maryland. Paul passed away in June 1998.

Jeanne is survived by her children, James P. O’Neill and Carolyn; Daniel J. O’Neill and Linda Dahlen; and Colleen M. O’Neill Yanchulis and Mick; her grandchildren, Brenna K. O’Neill Carlson (Dale); Conor J. O’Neill (Jamie); Jeanne Marie O’Neill McDowell (Rob); and James M. Yanchulis; and great-granddaughters Mackenzie Rose and Olivia Marie McDowell.

In addition to raising her family, Jeanne put her considerable gifts to use in the political world, working at the Maryland Legislature in Annapolis for several lawmakers, including current U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer. Her family often noted she retired “more times than a prizefighter,” and later endeavors included running Hoyer’s campaign office for the 1981 special election that ushered him into Congress, and then leading his district office. She later worked for him on Capitol Hill. She also worked in the secretary of state’s office, serving for a time in an acting role as secretary of state.

Jeanne was an avid reader her entire life and nurtured her creative side through sewing, quilting and needle arts, as well as knitting and crocheting. She also enjoyed traveling, making several trips to Europe (her two homelands, Italy and Ireland) as well as taking Caribbean cruises and many trips throughout the United States on her own and with the Anne Arundel County South County Senior Center. She was an active member of her various hometown parishes, the most recent being Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Edgewater, Maryland; she also was a fixture at the senior center, taking exercise and enrichment classes.

Her family was her primary focus. Jeanne led yearly summer vacations to the Delmarva beaches and then to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. She was involved in many of her children’s activities and continued that involvement at her grandchildren’s events. Playing “catch” and spending time with her great-granddaughters always brought a smile to her face in her later years.

Her strength in the face of myriad challenges was Jeanne’s most enduring quality. She rose from modest circumstances to become a most valued member of her community, her workplace and society. She suffered greatly from a chronic illness in her younger years but never let it deter her from achieving more. Widowed in her 60s, she reinvented life for herself in a new town and developed treasured friendships and relationships anew. She was an inspiration in how she lived and how she thrived.

In lieu of flowers—she always said “give them to me while I am alive to enjoy them”—please consider a donation to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.