Obituary: Brian O’Neil
November 2, 1942 – April 12, 2021
Brian George O’Neil passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 12, 2021 at Renew Roaring Fork Assisted Living Facility from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Brian was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on November 2, 1942 to George and Stasia O’Neil. He attended Trinity College and graduated with a degree in History. For a time, he taught high school history and coached football in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. He moved to Aspen in 1976 and immediately became involved in the community, bartending at the Aspen Bar and Grill (where he was also on the softball team), The Aspen Mine Co., Lucci’s Restaurant, Aspen Highlands, The Maroon Creek Club ,The Elks Club, and the Student Union at Aspen State Teacher’s College.
Aspen gave Brian the opportunity to foster his love and talent for acting. He acted in productions for Aspen Stage, Aspen Community Theater, Aspen Theater in the Park, and The Hudson Reed Ensemble. He also acted for Vital Talk, a training program for Doctors to learn communication skills for their patients. He served as a board member for Aspen Community Theater, Aspen Stage, and a Guild Member of Aspen Theater in the Park.
He volunteered for many organizations in the valley: the Vestry Committee at Christ Episcopal Church, a DJ at KJAX, the Aspen City Council Arts Grants Committee, the Wheeler Opera House Board, and the Aspen School District “Read With Me” program. For these he received the Pitkin County Cares Volunteer service “Seniors” Award and the City of Aspen Volunteer of the Year Award.
He joined the Aspen Elks Lodge in 1999 and served as Exalted Ruler and as president of the Colorado Elks Association. He took great pride in coaching the Ritual Team. One of his greatest contributions was being on the scholarship committee which awarded thousands of dollars to local high school students.
Brian will always be remembered for his thick New England accent, his quick wit, his sense of humor, his vast knowledge, the many many stories he could tell, and most of all, his big heart. We miss seeing him walking around town wearing his signature wool tweed sports coat, scarf and always with a book in hand. He loved Aspen and Aspen is a better place because of his contributions to the community.
He is survived by his family at the Elks Lodge and his dear friends, Wendy and Toby Larson. We would like to thank the staff at Whitcomb Terrace, Renew Roaring Fork, and HomeCare and Hospice of the Valley for the loving care they provided. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Alzheimer’s Association or the Aspen Elks Scholarship Fund. A graveside service and reception at the Elks Lodge will take place early this summer.
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