Mary O’Neill


image of Mary O'Neill

Mary O’Neill

Mary Lou was born in Spokane, WA, November 19, 1927.  The family lived upstairs from her grandparents.

In 1933, the family was transferred to Portland, OR where as a young girl Mary played being a movie star – Ginger Rogers to be specific.  Other games included Red Light Green Light and Mother May I.   She spoke of picnics, picking berries, and rides on roads that led to railroad tracks, attending the Rose Parade, and having a pet turtle.

In 1937, the family was transferred again to Medford, OR.  Apparently, it was quite a site when they checked into the Heathman Hotel that first night with their birdcage and Mary’s pet turtle.  Mary spoke of how she loved Medford.  Loved riding her bike wherever she wanted to go; mostly to the store to get a pickle and maybe some tobacco for her dad’s pipe.  She sang in the church choir and a trio in school.

In 1940, the family was transferred to Berkeley, CA.  In 1941, the attack at Pearl Harbor changed life on the coast.  Blocking lights, rationing gas and certain foods.  March 8, 1942 – 2 girls sitting on the grass at Lake Merritt in Oakland where they were joined by 2 sailors.  Yes – that was when Mary met John.  Four  years of courtship via mail with a few short meetings along the way led them to their wedding in 1946 where they began their 62-year honeymoon.

After the war, they started their home and family in El Cerrito, CA.  The family moved to Kirkland, WA, in 1958.

While living in Kirkland, Mary enjoyed loving John, raising her children, living her faith, longtime member of Holy Family Parish where for a while she sang in the choir, participating in the activities of her Children’s Orthopedic Guild, camping at Beverly Creek, fishing at Davis Lake where she would bait her hook using a Kleenex over the worm, their cabin in Cle Elum, the Seahawks, sewing, many crafts leaving many treasures behind, and gardening. In 2008 John went home to God. In 2014 Mary moved to Sequim, WA, to be closer to her daughter, Cheryl.

She was preceded in death by her parents Hank and Koba Van Schoorl, her husband, John; daughter, Sharon, and son, Bill; sisters, Reda Vander Hoek and Babe Strain.  Survivors include her son, Jim (Heidi); daughters, Cheryl Heise (Michael) and Peggy Feher (Skip); grandchildren Eric (Marisol), Jay (Melissa), Carrie (Kevin), Keith (Liz), Michael (Leanne), Jesse (Christine), Jeff, Katie (Nick), Jon; and 17 great-grandchildren.

A Mass Of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, July 22, at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 7045 120th Avenue, N.E., Kirkland, WA. Interment will be at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, July 26, at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA. Memorial donations can be made to


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