Mildred O’Neill, 89; Widow of ‘Tip,’ Fan of Boston Red Sox
Mildred A. O’Neill, 89, the widow of former House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, died Monday of a heart attack at her home in Bethesda, Md.
A lifetime Boston Red Sox fan, O’Neill threw out the first ball at the 1986 season opener. She took a nap Monday so she’d be rested for the evening playoff game between the Sox and the Oakland A’s. She never woke up to see the win that put the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series with the New York Yankees, her daughter said.
Born in Somerville, Mass., the daughter of a streetcar operator, she met her future husband when they attended high school together in North Cambridge, Mass. They married in 1941 and had five children. The O’Neills lived in Cambridge until 1976 when the Massachusetts Democrat was named speaker of the House and the couple moved to Washington.
On their 40th wedding anniversary, he publicly crooned “Apple Blossom Time” for her.
She served as chairwoman or executive board member for both the March of Dimes and the Congressional Wives’ Club. She was also chairwoman of the historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington and received the Lincoln Medal in 1984 for her fund-raising there.
Her husband died in 1994.