Margaret Rose Jarosh O’Neill

Margaret oneillMargaret Rose Jarosh O’Neill lost her heroic battle with respiratory illness and died at her home on April 23, 2020 with her daughter by her side.  A 42-year resident of Ridgefield, she left her mark on the community with her signature compassion, kindness, generous spirit, joie-de-vivre, humor and spunk.

Born on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village in 1930, Margaret never had a relationship with her parents.  After attending schools in Chelsea and the Bronx, including St. Simon Stock, she was sent as a charity case to Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset, L.I., where she worked in return for her education.  The Sisters of Mercy fortified Margaret’s Catholic faith for her entire life.  Margaret always spoke of them as her “mothers.”  She left the academy as a teenager and earned her high school degree at night, working days, first at a food store and later as a seamstress to support herself.  Over the years, Margaret lived in many NYC neighborhoods including Chelsea, Forest Hills, and several throughout the Bronx and Staten Island.

Margaret acquired the skills to become an Executive Secretary and found employment at The Benjamin Moore Paint Company on Canal Street, where she had a host of responsibilities including creating financial statements on a typewriter (no “Correct-Type!”).  While working here, she spent her evenings studying and earning her bachelor’s degree from Hunter College.  Most importantly, it was at Benjamin Moore that she met the love of her life, Richard O’Neill, with whom she enjoyed a 51-year marriage until his passing in 2016.  Margaret eventually went on to get her Master of Arts from Fairfield University, also at night.

Margaret was effervescent with a sharp wit.  She was friendly and hospitable.  Margaret loved nature, gardening, entertaining and she distained any pampering.  She was a force of nature.  She relished taking care of those she loved, in every way including showering them with her impressive culinary talents.  She had friends of all ages and was known to readily help strangers and animals. Although staunchly religious, Margaret had a “saucy” side and was an incurable flirt.

Faith, family and good works were the pillars of her life.  For several decades, she attended Sacred Heart Church in Georgetown, Connecticut, where she and her husband contributed in many ways, including teaching religious education.  These contributions were memorialized by their receipt of the St. Augustine Medal for Service, awarded by the Bridgeport Diocese. 

Margaret was resourceful and ever determined.  She was feisty and remained healthy, mentally sharp, fit and active until one month before passing, when she was still running up and down the steep stairs to her basement.  She is survived by her devoted daughter Elizabeth O’Neill, and her son-in-law Jim Echikson, and her beloved grandson Joshua Lee.  She also leaves behind an extended family who meant the world to her.

Due to the current health emergency, a private burial without services will ensue.  A celebration of her life will be held at a future date.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The American Cancer Society.



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