James Wilfrid O'Neill, a retired Internal Revenue Service auditor and major in the Army Reserves' Corps of Engineers, died at Good Samaritan Hospital Aug. 30 of pneumonia complications after surgery for an aneurysm. He was 86.
A Baltimore native, he grew up on the city's west side and attended parochial school. He began studies for the priesthood at the old St. Charles College in Catonsville, but left after graduating from high school and found work as a bicycle courier for Western Union.
He enlisted in the Army in 1941, and served in Tunisia, Algeria and Italy. He attended Officer Candidate School and finished the war years as a second lieutenant in the Philippines and Korea. He subsequently joined the reserves, and retired in 1968 as a major.
In Baltimore after the war, he worked for American Oil Co. and attended Loyola College. Graduating in 1955, he began a 22-year IRS career. He was a field auditor in the excise tax division, and then conducted courses in the training division.
As a Red Cross volunteer, Mr. O'Neill helped multiple sclerosis patients and took part in their Perky Hornets bowling team in Perry Hall.
Through the games of his children and grandchildren, he became an ardent soccer fan and in retirement planned fall weekends to attend games of the Loyola College and University of Maryland teams.
A resident of Parkville since 1949, he was active at St. Ursula Roman Catholic Church. He was one of its first lectors in 1964, and was reading at Mass until 2000 when his vision began to fail. His funeral Mass was offered there Tuesday.
Surviving are his wife of 58 years, the former Mary Louise Dengler; three daughters, Mary Jean Erb and Judith A. Bopp, both of Baltimore, and Teresa E. Brashears of Towson; three sons, James W. O'Neill Jr. of Baltimore, Francis J. O'Neill of Shrewsbury, Pa., and Matthew J. O'Neill of Greenville, S.C.; and 14 grandchildren.