Many of us have worked multiple jobs, some to advance our careers, pay the bills or just because we loved the work and enjoyed spending time there. Others get to retire from their career and find time to do something less demanding but more personally fulfilling.

William L. O'Neil was one such fellow. Perhaps it was the luck of the Irish.

"Bill" O'Neil was born July 2, 1932, in Fall River, Massachusetts. He graduated from Coyle & Cassidy High School in 1950. Bill earned a bachelor's degree in Textile Engineering from Bradford Durfee Technical Institute in 1954.

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The same year, Bill married the love of his life, Corrine A. (Neves) O'Neil. They were high school sweethearts. The O'Neils had six children, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Beloved Padanoram Bridge Tender Bill O'Neil Passes Away
Courtesy O'Neil Family

Bill, "always an Irish tune in his heart and on his lips," loved to navigate Buzzards Bay aboard his boat, a Rhodes 19, Rose of Tralee.

Bill O'Neil passed away on January 20, 2024. He was 91.

When Bill retired from a long career as a textile engineer, he remained active in his church community, a local food pantry, Knights of Columbus, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and in helping to ease the plight of the homeless.

Bill also found what his family called his "dream job." He became a part-time bridgetender on the Padanaram Bridge in Dartmouth.

Beloved Padanoram Bridge Tender Bill O'Neil Passes Away
Courtesy O'Neil Family

Bill's son, Christopher Paul O'Neil, said, "Salt water was in his veins. He had a love for the ocean and Buzzards Bay." O'Neil said his dad was "never without a watercraft."

Christopher Paul O'Neil said his father "held various positions with the Town of Dartmouth" following his retirement around 1995, but the bridge job "he loved most of all." He says it was a "retirement hobby he cherished."

Bill's obituary says, "Passerby could count on Bill's wave, shining blue eyes and unfailingly a laugh or two."

Here's to a life well-lived, Bill.

We raise our glass to William L. O'Neil.

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