News

Image of Jack and Pat O'Neill linking arms and laughing

John Joseph “Jack” O’Neill: A Self-Made Man

March 10th, 2022
Share:

Jack O’Neill was a man who believed in hard work and who possessed an entrepreneurial spirit that saw him create and lead an impressive group of companies during his career.

Jack’s first job was in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He went to work for Canadian National Railways as a clerk and soon rose to the position of general manager of a hotel in Brandon, Manitoba.

Winnipeg is also where he met and married his beloved wife, Patricia O’Neill (nee Davis). The couple had six sons before they decided to move to Vancouver in 1959. Jack and Pat’s seventh and final son was born in Vancouver, at St. Paul’s Hospital. So began a life-long relationship with the hospital. The family settled in West Vancouver in the early 1960’s, but over the years found themselves back at St. Paul’s Hospital when injury or illness interrupted regular life. Of course, some of their 19 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren also gave cause for the occasional trip to St. Paul’s Hospital!

Jack spent much of his entrepreneurial career founding and heading up catering and hotel companies that provided meals and accommodation to remote work crews in the mining, lumber, and pipeline industries. These businesses also provided a steady stream of summer employment for those seven sons!

Work often took Jack away from home, but he still found time to cheer on his boys as they played football for Vancouver College. He wouldn’t miss a game if he was in town. Fishing, boating, and spending time in Whistler and Palm Desert rounded out Jack’s leisure time. He had an extensive knowledge of wildlife, especially birds.

Jack and Pat spent 63 years together until Pat’s death in 2012. Together they raised a large family of whom they were both very proud.

We are truly grateful to have been counted as part of this self-made man’s legacy through a gift Jack made to St. Paul’s Foundation in his will. Thank you Jack!

Connect