Marilyn J. O’Neel

March 13, 1931 – Jan. 24, 2021


Marilyn Jo Jonas was born Friday, March 13, 1931, to Joseph and Mary (Hruska) Jonas in their home three miles south of Dorchester, the oldest of three children, and passed away Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, at the Tabitha Care Center, The Gardens, in Crete at the age of 89 years, 10 months and 11 days.

Marilyn attended and graduated from eighth grade from country school Goldenrod School District 42. She then attended high school at Dorchester High School where she graduated with the class of 1948 as its valedictorian. Upon graduation, she completed 12 credits at the University of Nebraska to obtain her elementary school teaching certificate and then taught at school districts 64 and 42 where she had attended. She was the last teacher at school district 42 with two of her eight students being her brothers, Dale and Larry Jonas.

Marilyn met Boyd A. O’Neel at a dance at Saline Center Hall and on Aug. 25, 1951, they were married at the Friend Methodist Church. After Boyd’s return from the service, they made their home on a farm south of Friend. Their union was blessed with four children, Chere Lee, Randall Allan, Terry (Terrance) Dean, and Gregg Ray. In 1955, they moved to the farm which they purchased in 1966 and where they continued to make their home, farming, dairying and raising cattle. Marilyn enjoyed sewing, gardening, cooking, listening to Czech music and helping Chere cater on occasions. If you were working on the O’Neel farm or came for a visit, one thing you were most likely treated to, was a good home-cooked meal by Marilyn.

After their children were grown and the two younger sons were in college, Boyd and Marilyn enjoyed taking trips with friends to Las Vegas, California and Texas. They usually went during spring break so the sons could milk the cows and do the cattle chores. Marilyn enjoyed a trip to Germany and Austria with her siblings and Chere and Gary, where they visited the apartment that her mother had grown up in. Marilyn continued to live on the farm after Boyd’s death on Aug. 19, 2004. Marilyn took another trip to Europe where she enjoyed seeing the Czech Republic. In May 2014, she moved to the Friendship Terrace in Friend, where she resided until she moved to the The Gardens in September 2017, where she was very content and enjoyed all the activities and outings. She was a member of the Friend United Methodist Church, ZCBJ Tabor Hall and served as president of the Nimble Fingers Club.

Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Chere and Gary Tuttle, Friend; sons and daughter-in-law, Randy O’Neel, Terry and Diane O’Neel, all of Friend, Gregg O’Neel, Short Hills, NewJersey; six grandchildren, Galen and Jamie Tuttle, Friend, Melissa and Jason Norris, Liberty, ,Missouri, Danielle and Samuel Pendleton, Friend, Ethan and Kayla O’Neel, also of Friend, Ben and Jillian O’Neel, Short Hills; great-grandchildren, Peyton and Brooks Norris, Avery and Reese Tuttle and Natalie Pendleton; brothers and sisters in-law, Dale and Janet Jonas, Lincoln, Larry and JiJi Jonas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Francis O’Neel, Lincoln; several nieces, nephews, and a host of other relatives and friends.

Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Boyd.

Services were Jan. 27 at the Friend United Methodist Church with interment in the Andrew Cemetery. Memorial contributions are suggested to Warren Memorial Hospital Foundation or the Friend Historical Society. Condolences may be left for the family at


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment