A Memorial Service for Graham Justus O’Neal, 82, West Plains, Missouri, will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 3, 2013, at First United Methodist Church, under the direction of Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.
Mr. O’Neal was greeted by Jesus on July 27, 2013.
He was born November 1, 1930, to Henry Charles O’Neal and Nancy Ellen Jennings O‘Neal in Swifton, Arkansas. As a young man, Graham’s family moved to San Diego, California. During his late teens, his family moved to Paragould, Arkansas, where Graham, who excelled in many sports, completed high school in 1948.
That summer Graham married his high school sweetheart, Camila “Connie” Guill; they recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Graham and Connie were blessed with three children: Kathleen, Scott and Grant. The O’Neal’s moved to West Plains in 1962.
Graham began his first career working for Sterling Stores in 1948. He managed stores in Kennett and West Plains, Missouri. After more than 30 years with Sterling’s, Graham pursued higher education culminating in a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of New York and a Master’s in Business Administration from Arkansas State University. Along the way, Graham studied at several fine educational institutions including: Cambridge University, Oxford University, Trinity College and the University of Texas.
Upon completion of his MBA, Graham began his second career as CEO of West Plains Health Service. He worked in this capacity for 22 years as the agency grew from 4 to 30 employees and retired in 2008 at the age of 77. He was the interim Director of Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) for 1 ½ years. Graham also contributed to the education of others as an adjunct Professor at Missouri State University-West Plains, as a contributor of chapters for several graduate-level textbooks, Sunday School Superintendent and Teacher, Youth Group Leader and Scout Leader. He was also actively involved throughout his life in many community organizations and activities in Kennett and West Plains. These included the Downtown Merchant Association, Kiwanis’s, Chamber of Commerce, R-7 Board of Education, Missouri State University Advisory Board, the Rotary Club, the Urban Renewal Board and the Civic Center Board. He has attended the First United Methodist Churches of West Plains and Kennett. Graham served terms as president or chairman of many of these organizations and was proud of the many achievements during his tenure. Throughout his life, Graham was blessed with many friendships and interests. His friends described him as thoughtful, humorous and industrious. His Christian faith was at the center of his life.
Graham was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, Henry, Charles and Frank and one sister, Norma.
Graham was a devoted husband and father who valued his family and considered them to be the most important focus of his earthly life. Graham is survived by his wife, Connie; their three children, Kathleen Aid, husband, Toney, Scott O’Neal, wife, Kay and Grant O’Neal, wife, Patty; four grandchildren, Hilary Aid, Graham Aid, Rachel Beaman, husband, Daniel and Leslie O’Neal; four step-grandchildren, Scott David, Athena, Becca and Ryan; and two great-grandchildren, Jacob and Ethan Beaman.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Graham and Connie O’Neal Scholarship Fund at MSU-West Plains or the OMC Foundation. Contributions may be left at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.
Visitation will be held from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m., Friday, August 2, 2013, at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.