Amherst Magazine

Edward A. O'Neal Jr. '66

Deceased September 17, 2001

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In Memory

With sadness I report that Ed O’Neal, our friend and classmate, died on Sept. 17, 2001. The cause was a heart attack. Ed and his family had moved to Sydney, Australia, in 1998, where Ed became chief executive of St. George Bank.

Ed was born in Detroit on June 6, 1944. He was prepared at the Middlesex School. Ed was a terrific athlete. At Amherst, he was on the swim team and rowed for the crew team, which he captained. After Amherst, Ed received an M.B.A. from Harvard and then pursued a long and successful career in banking. The New York Times reported that Ed built St. George Bank into the fifth-largest bank in Australia.

Ed was a good friend of mine during college. He was a great guy—outgoing, friendly, generous, warm. We were both on the freshman swim team, which is how I got to know him. Ed and I, along with Terry Philips and Dan Hill, made up the freshman 4x100 relay team in the spring of our first year (touched out, sadly, by Wesleyan at the New England Championships). Ed and I formed the erstwhile singing duo, “Ed & Don.” We strummed guitars and sang folk songs for anyone who would pay us. Ed had a good tenor voice and was clearly the class of the act. We particularly liked to perform for mixers at Smith and Mt. Holyoke, hoping, of course, to meet girls. My recollection is that Ed met his wife, Dianne, on one of those occasions. I can still recall an event at Smith, shortly after they met, where Ed, who was a big guy, knifed his way through a crowded room to be at her side. During college, and whenever I saw them thereafter, it was clear they were devoted to each other.

I last saw Ed and Dianne at our 25th Reunion in 1991. A few years earlier, Dianne survived a life-threatening illness. She almost died. The experience plainly affected them deeply. They seemed reflective, sober and appreciative of the important things in life. They seemed to appreciate each other even more.

Ed is survived by Dianne and by a son, Edward. On behalf of the class, I extend them our deepest sympathies.

Donald H. Zeigler ‘66

 

 

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