OBITUARY: Deirdre O’Neil

March 7, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

Deirdre O’Neil, 83, of Beverly Farms, Mass. and Boca Grande, passed away peacefully on Monday, February 15, 2021.  

Deirdre was the only child of John and Helen (Ford) Fahey, born on September 16, 1937 in Cambridge, Mass. Her dear cousin Anne (Duggan) Quicke was “adopted” when Deirdre was 3. Her own mother’s passing when Deirdre was young instilled in her a strong, independent mind and spirit, as she was required to help her beloved father manage the home starting at the age of 10.

She grew up in Belmont, Mass. and spent summers in Scituate with her extended family. She attended Belmont High School where she developed a love for art. In high school, she went by the nickname ‘Kelley’, lovingly bequeathed upon her by her doting father with great Irish pride. She later attended Lesley College where she received a BA in education.  

After college, Deirdre taught art in the Melrose Public School system and later volunteered at Shore Country Day school, while her children attended. Deirdre married Gilbert O’Neil in 1961, with whom she had three children and spent 53 vibrant years, until Gil’s passing in 2014. 

She put her artistic abilities to great use with her many interior home design projects. She contributed to the design of her home in Simsbury, Conn. and then the complete renovation of the family home in Beverly Farms, Mass.

Deirdre was a voracious reader as the librarians at Beverly Farms Public Library can attest, based on her several-books-per-week rate. She loved mysteries but was also well versed in historical novels, and Deirdre was always ready for any political argument of the day. 

A lifelong animal lover, she loved horseback riding, adored her many pet dogs and prize-winning Persian cats. Music was always playing in her house. When she was younger, she was a fan of Elvis and the Beatles, and for the past 30 years, country music was her genre.

Deirdre was perhaps most proud of her children’s, and then grandchildren’s, accomplishments, both large and small.  ‘Grammy’ always had sage advice and words of encouragement for her children and grandchildren alike. She was larger than life and a great role model. 

Deirdre leaves three children, Ford (Kate), Tara Lyne (Tim), and Colin (Josefina); and nine grandchildren: Myles and Sydney O’Neil, Colin, Tatiana, Austin and Ciara Lyne and Ema, Mercedes and Matilda O’Neil; her cousin Anne (Duggan) Quicke; her brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Jerry and Bonnie O’Neil and Sally O’Driscoll; and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Beverly Farms Branch Library c/o Allison Babin, 24 Vine St., Beverly Farms, MA 01915.