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Patrick “Pat” O’Neill


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.

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12 Responses

  1. Dear Tedd, Brian and I send you are deepest condolences. Your mother and father gave you and your brothers a firm foundation and provided an amazing legacy for your family.

  2. Dan,
    I am sorry to read the news of the death of your dad. I know you loved him and will miss him dearly. We have all reached–or are reaching–that point in our lives when we lose our parents, inevitable but still hard as hell. Godspeed! John Robinson

  3. Our deepest sympathies to the O’Neill family.Over the years we have known Pat and Joy , we’ve had great conversations and many laughs together. Even though we were not related , Pat always said we were family to them.

  4. I will always remember Great Uncle Pat with his big smile and always enjoying his family visits.

  5. A beautiful tribute to your dad. We are sorry for your loss but happy that you had someone so wonderful in your life.
    Neal and Kathy

  6. Very sorry for your family’s, and the community’s, loss of a remarkable human being.

  7. My prayers are with your family. Pat was very kind to me even though I was just the babysitter. I send hugs and condolences to your family.

  8. Brad and family am so sorry for your loss. While I did not know Pat well Joy was such a delight. My son, Eric, has fond memories of his time spent in their home. My condolences to all of you. Sincerely, Maribeth Albertson

  9. Pat was certainly one of a kind, and I’ll always be appreciative of his interest in me as a young automotive professional. He opened doors for me and introduced me to people that put me in a position to be instrumental to many. I valued his friendship and that of his family. I’m proud to see his legacy carried on by his grandsons. I always enjoyed Pats stories and look forward to hearing more from the family.

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