Frank Maurice O’Neill

Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Frank Maurice O’Neill

Frank Maurice O’Neill, age 85, loving, devoted, faithful husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend was called home to our Lord on Wednesday, September 17, 2020, due to a heart attack. Frank spent his last day doing what he loved, working cattle on the family ranch. Frank knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior!

Frank was born 27 February, 1935, the oldest son of David Y. and Margaret M. (Hamling) O’Neill in New Underwood, South Dakota. Frank attended country school at the Folsum School on Lower Spring Creek east of Hermosa, SD, then high school at Rapid City, graduating in 1953. He attended college at South Dakota State University graduating in 1957 with a B.S. in Animal Science. As a young man, Frank worked construction and carpentry jobs during the summers in high school and college, in addition to work on his parent’s ranch. Frank excelled as an athlete. He played high school basketball, baseball, track, and cross country. During college, he competed on the SDSU track and rodeo teams.

After college, Frank was an assistant county agent in Pennington County, SD. Then with greetings from the US Army draft– basic training at Fort Carson, CO, and Signal School at Fort Monmouth, NJ – work assignment at Fort Richardson, Alaska with Signal Corps Crypto material. He was honorably discharged April 1960. After the military, Frank spent two years working as a carpenter on the Titan and Minuteman Missile sites in western SD. Then he returned to SDSU for a B.S. in Range Management. He worked with the Bureau of Land Management as a Range Conservationist for two years in Prineville, Oregon, and two years in Miles City, MT.

Frank married Dianne M. Undem on 2 December, 1967. Frank and Dianne stepped into managing and operating the Undem family ranch after her parents’ deaths. Over the years, Frank installed and made many fence, corral, stock water, and building improvements at the ranch raising red composite cattle. Being a steward of the family ranch was an important life mission. Frank and Dianne raised three sons – Steven Reed, Patrick David, and Michael Edward.

Frank’s true joy was his sons and grandchildren. Raising their family on the ranch was very important to him. Frank loved teaching his sons about cattle, horses, range management, and carpentry. Frank loved to follow his sons to rodeos and sporting events, missing only a few of his sons ball games throughout their school years. He continued to follow local kids in their athletic careers. Frank enjoyed helping and teaching his sons and other local 4-H kids about livestock and range management. He appreciated riding a cowy rope horse! Frank enjoyed roping at the Terry Roping Club events when he was a younger man. He always looked forward to helping at the family ranch during his older years!

Frank was a respectful, honest, selfless, frugal man who was humble about his talents. Frank would be the first to take the big circle gathering cattle or willingly take the hard job without saying anything. Frank was a man of few words, but when he spoke it was important or sometimes dry humor. He enjoyed playing whist and board games in the winter with family and friends. In his later years, Frank loved to travel to his grandchildren’s events. Frank loved to travel by car and just “See the country!” He would judge the country by how well it was suited to run cattle on. Frank and Dianne were fortunate to take several sightseeing trips around the country before Dianne passed. Frank treasured time spent with family, especially holidays, and was grateful for the fun times spent visiting and trading help with neighbors over the years!

Frank was preceded in death by his parents David and Margaret (Hamling) O’Neill; and his wife of 48 years, Dianne (Undem) O’Neill. He is survived by his son Steven (Connie) grandchildren Kaitlin, Grady; step grandchildren Payton, and Taylor (Skyler) of Groton, SD; step great grandson Samuel; son Patrick of Terry; son Michael (Theresa) grandchildren Kelli, Reid, Grant, and Grace of Great Falls; his brother Larry (Liz) O’Neill of San Antonio, TX; three nieces Kathleen (Lacey), Leslie (Todd), and Meg (Robert); sister in law Donna (Gene) Lehman; nephew Jess, nieces Laurie (Matt) and Nelseena; sister in law Connie (David) Bosman.

Visitation will be held at the Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Terry on Thursday, September 24th from 1pm to 6 pm. Funeral services will be held at the Prairie County Fairgrounds in Terry at 11am on Friday, September 25th followed by graveside services accompanied by the local Military Honor Guard at the Prairie County Cemetery. A luncheon will be served at the Prairie County Fairgrounds 4-H Building after graveside services.

In lieu of flowers, any donations may be made to the Prairie County 4-H Council or the Terry Roping Club.

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