James O'Neal

Nov 16, 1949 - Sep 08, 2020

James O'Neal

November 16, 1949 - September 08, 2020


James O'Neal, affectionately known by all as "Neal," was born on November 16, 1949 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was one of six children to Homer and Sliver O'Neal. James received his formal education in his beloved city of Cincinnati. He attended and graduated from Taft High School in 1968. Early in his life, he was introduced to the Roman Catholic faith and was baptized at St. Ann Catholic Church in Cincinnati, where he served as an alter boy for many years.

James was a natural born leader. He enlisted and served in the United States Navy were he became a squadron leader. Following his military service, he returned to his native home where he worked for the City of Cincinnati as a gardener. James would eventually return to San Diego, California. He was employed by Advanced Machine and Tooling. Between 1996 and 2016, after working several years with the company, he was promoted to a lead, then became a supervisor. James enjoyed his job. He would often share his work experiences with family and friends. He mentored many men and women, and was a positive influence on many whom he came into contact while employed. James retired in 2016 after bravely facing challenges to his health.

When James was not working at his job, he was a handyman. He was not idle by any means. James could fix and do just about anything, from plumbing, to fixing cars, building a patio in his own backyard, or laying a concrete slab. These were just a few of his handyman projects.

Even though James was a dedicated hard worker on his job and at home, he knew how to relax and enjoy life. He found tranquility when fishing at local and not so local lakes with his brother-in-law Craig Canady. They both enjoyed fishing from the shoreline, but found that it was not as fulfilling as buying a boat and launching it into the sea for deep sea fishing! Fishing is what they loved, and fishing is what they did! What started as a hobby catching fish, became so great, that it eventually led to an annual fish fry party. It was a fishing celebration where family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers, converged at the O'Neal residence in the summer for a day (and night) filled with music, dancing, laughter, and of course some good fried fish: catfish, perch, bluegill, and all the side dishes and drinks you could want.

James enjoyed music and dancing. He was known as a great "swing dancer." When the music started at the fish fry, a wedding reception, or family reunion, James would be seen on the dance floor with his beloved wife Nattie, dancing to his favorite song, "My Girl" by The Dramatics. He would joyfully sing the words showing his love and affection to his girl, Nattie.

James' love extended to not just his immediate family, but his entire family. He loved and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. When they came to the house, he would put them to work with him in the backyard doing yard work. After all, the O'Neal residence was known as the entertainment and party house. Hosting family and friends outside was the joy of James' life. He also found pleasure in the last two years of his life with his "best friend" a dog named Dolamite, which gave him comfort as his illness progressed.

James was proceeded in death by his mother Silver O'Neal, father Homer O'Neal, Sr., son Jamie O'Neal, and brother Homer O'Neal, Jr. Left to cherish Neal's memory are: his wife of 32 years, Nattie O'Neal, of San Diego, CA; son James O'Neal, Jr. of San Diego, CA; daughter Kesha Marie O'Neal of Iowa; step-son Bennie Hamilton of San Diego, CA; step-daughter Taisha Wells of San Diego, CA; sisters: Barbara Linville, Linda Shugars (James), Diana Hill, and Brandy O'Neal all of Cincinnati, Ohio; 12 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; along with a host of aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and many friends.

Neal will continue to be a model of excellence and a legend to all who knew his caring, kind and welcoming spirit. He will be truly missed but never forgotten. His memory will forever remain in our hearts.


Fri, Sep 18, 2020 at 11:00 am
Preferred Cremation and Burial

6406 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92115

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