On August 9th, 2022, Patrick (Pat) O’Neill peacefully rejoined his loving wife, Joylene Mae Rugg O’Neill, in the afterlife. Patrick was a lifelong resident of West Michigan who was proud father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to a large and loving family. Born in 1930 in Grand Rapids and raised in Lowell, Pat founded O’Neill’s Auto & Transmission in 1960, one of the oldest enduring businesses in Cascade that still serves the community today under family ownership.
Anyone who knew Pat can agree that he was a colorful man who lived his life fully. Pat took his trade seriously, with statewide leadership roles in several auto repair industry organizations, and years of work as an expert witness in auto litigation. With his own success, Pat paid it forward through a long history of supporting entrepreneurs in his field. Pat was perhaps best known to our community as the long-time host of Wood Radio’s “Car Talk” which aired in a top-rated slot on Saturday mornings for many years. Pat deeply enjoyed helping West Michigan solve automotive issues large and small and took great satisfaction in that public service. Pat’s mastery of machinery enabled his enjoyment of lifelong hobbies as an accomplished pilot, sailor, car collector, and groundsman of his own properties.
Pat was a tireless storyteller and proud of the accomplishments of his family and friends. He possessed a gift for giving specific, often witty observations and accolades, making him a sought-after mentor by people of all ages to the very end of his life. An animal lover and avid reader of history, Pat was an intensely curious man, wondering after the composition of the world and human relations ceaselessly. Examining life as he lived it was a critical aspect of who he was. A child of the Great Depression, Pat commented often on how hardship can shape our character and lives. This is the biggest lesson he worked on in life and what he offers up to all of us: “When things are tough or scary, stop staring and start stepping forward. That is how you will succeed.” The story of Pat is one of resilience and self-determination, with meaningful lessons for us all. He will be missed and remain beloved by so many friends and family.
Patrick and Joylene had 3 sons, 5 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. Visitation with the family will be held from 2-4PM and 6-8PM on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Funeral services will be held at 11AM on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, at the funeral home, with visitation one hour prior. Interment Cascade Cemetery.