James Thomas (Daly) O'Neil


The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, Sunday, May 17, 1959

Cancer Fatal To Chairman

James T. O'Neil, Supervisor, Dies

James T. O'Neil, 52, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, died at 6:30 a.m. yesterday at his home, 138 W. Rose Lane. He had been in a coma several days.

Death was attributed to cancer of the kidney and liver. An operation March 3 in St. Josephs Hospital disclosed the nature of Mr. O'Neil's ailment.

The flag on the courthouse was lowered to half staff in honor of Mr. O'Neil.

Rosary will be recited at 8 p.m. today in St. Francis Xavier Church, 4715 N. Central.

The challis services of the Marcos de Niza Assembly, Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, of which he was a member, will follow the rosary.

Solemn requiem high mass will be sung at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. Francis Xavier Church. Burial will be in St. Francis Cemetery.

Friends may call at the Whitney and Murphy Funeral Home, 330 N. Second Ave., from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. today.

Active pallbearers at the funeral services will be Tom Sullivan, Larry Whitlow, Larry Mehren, John Long, James O'Malley, Charles Berkenkamp, Landen C. Himes and Charles Miller.

Honorary pallbearers will be Gov. Paul Fannin, Wesley Bolin, W. L. (Tay) Cook, Clarence Carpenter, Levi Udall, J. Mercer Johnson, Frank G. Murphy, Cal Boles, Walter Bimson, James G. Hart, Dr. Charles Kalil, Lawson Smith, Harold Scoville, Read Mullan, William C. Bond, John F. Long, John Mills, Francis Curtis, Leon Black, P.G. Beckett, Jack Bradley, Folsum Moore, Tom Chauncey, Dr. Paul Case, John O'Malley Jr., Nick Mastrong, H.S. (Casey) Abbott, Hal Warner, L.D. McDonald, Eli Gorodezky.

Also, Emery Hurley, Fred Glendenning, Jack Williams, John P. Franks, William E. Stanford, Steve Spear, Mark Wilmer, Columbus Guragi, William P. Reilly, Morris Muzzy, Joseph P. Condrey, Rod McMullin, O.L. McDaniel, W.R. Harrod, Stanley Kimball, Wilbur Ashbury, John R. Mills, Stanlee Blythe, Riney Salmon, Frank Ryley, James Patrick, Bob Creighton and Lee Gardener.

The Board of Supervisors has authorized county employes who so desire to attend the funeral services. The only requirement is that all county offices shall be open and able to transact business during the funeral hours.

The Veteran public official was serving his fourth term as a member of the Boad of Supervisors.

Following his operation in March, Mr. O'Neil returned to his duties April 7 as chairman of the board and again on April 13 when he took part in the appointment of Dr. Charles Kalil to the board to succeed Supervisor James G. Hart, resigned.

Mr. O'Neil first was elected to the board in 1952 with the endorsement of the Better Government Association of Maricopa County. During his regime on the board, he had much to do with the betterment of the county government here.

Cowboy, road builder, industrial executive, merchandiser, and, finally, Maricopa County Supervisor. These were highlights of the career of James T. O'Neil

Born in Chicago, Mr. O'Neil was brought to Arizona at the age of four years. After brief sojourns in Prescott and Congress, he became a resident of Douglas, where he lived until attaining manhood.

After attending the University of Arizona for two years, majoring in economics, he quit school and obtained employment in the engineering division of the state highway department. As an engineering aide, he helped build a number of the highways in Maricopa County.

A Lover of the out-of-doors and wide-open spaces, Mr. O'Neil next obtained a job as cowboy on the ranch of his uncle. H.B. Hughes, a large spread on the Phoenix-Payson highway. He had spent many summer vacations on the Hughes ranch and was an excellent horseman.

When World War II broke, Mr. O'Neil sought a commission on the basis of his military training at the UofA. However, he was employed as security officer at AiResearch Corp., and was obliged to "sit out" the war in that capacity.

After the war, he went into business for himself, becoming president of the Home Supply Co. He was head of that company in 1952 when a group from the Better Government Association persuaded him to become Democratic candidate for supervisor from Maricopa County's District 3.

After His election in November 1952 he disposed of his holdings in the Home Supply to devote his full time to the office.

Mr. O'Neil was an outstanding baseball player. He played semi professional baseball in several Arizona mining communities during his youth and once received the offer of a tryout with the Chicago White Sox, but turned it down.

The son of D.C. O'Neil, member of the Arizona Tax Commission and a political power in Arizona for many years, James T. O'Neil joined with James G. Hart, Republican supervisor, in providing Maricopa County with a county government that won it the All-American award of the National Municipal League in 1955.

Because Of his coalition with Republican Hart, Mr. O'Neil was not too popular with some elements of the Democratic Party. The opposition went so far as to institute a recall election against him in 1956, but the voters of District 3 defeated the recall by a lopsided majority.

Mr. O'Neil was a member St. Francis Catholic Church, the Valley of the Sun Kiwanis Club, Elks, Moose, and Knights of Columbus. He was a past president of Kiwanis and also a past president of the Arizona Appliance Merchandisers Association.

Surviving the supervisor chairman are his wife, Mrs. Ruth Coles O'Neil, member of a prominent Phoenix family, and seven children, including two pairs of twins. The children are David and Carolyn, 16, Jimmy, 13, June, 12, Tommy and Ruth, 9, and Mary, 5.

The O'Neil home is at 138 W. Rose Lane

In respect to O'Neil's memory the board of supervisors has adjourned until a week from tomorrow.

Business scheduled for discussion before the board tomorrow will be taken up at the May 25 meeting.

Friends have suggested a memorial in Mr. O'Neils honor at Brophy Prep.


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