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Feb. 14, 1916-March 3, 2012

RALEIGH -- William Hickman O'Neal, 96, passed away peacefully while in the loving care of Kitty Askins Hospice Center of Goldsboro.

Born Feb. 14, 1916, in the Wake Forest area, he was the son of Ernest "Bart" O'Neal and Zinnie O'Neal, and the youngest of four boys.

Hickman lost his mother when he was only 2 years old. After a few years, his father married Maggie Jackson, and Hickman later welcomed seven more brothers and sisters into the family.

He was a soft-spoken, humble man with a passion for hard work.

In his early years, he was proud to have found work during the Great Depression within the Civilian Conservation Corps in western North Carolina.

After four years of service, he relocated to Raleigh, obtaining work as an orderly at Dorothea Dix Hospital.

It is there he met a nurse, Sallie Johnson, who later became his wife. They celebrated 55 years of marriage, and together raised two daughters.

Hickman retired as service manager from North Carolina Equipment Co. following 35 years of service. He reminisced often about his work and life experiences, always grateful for having had, in his words, "a good life."

In his later years, Hickman was proud to profess his faith and be baptized by his friend and former pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church, Tom Vestal.

He gardened tirelessly, taking great pleasure in sharing all that he grew.

Always gifted with his hands and able to fix anything, Hickman busied himself with an endless list of projects, but was happiest when helping family and friends.

Left to cherish the memory of a loving father are his two daughters, Judy O'Neal Payne and husband, Leslie, and Gloria O'Neal Wilson all of Goldsboro.

He is also survived by his sisters and brothers, Doris Royal, Udell Miller, Ernest "Buddy" O'Neal and Alfonza O'Neal.

Hickman was preceded in death by his wife, Sallie Johnson O'Neal in 1997; a sister, Seretha O'Neal Strother; and brothers, Herman O'Neal, Furman O'Neal, Ivan O'Neal, Clayton O'Neal and Charles Cleveland "C.C." O'Neal.

A visitation and reception will be held Wednesday, March 7, 2012, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mitchell Funeral Home at 7209 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh.

Funeral services will begin at 1 p.m. in the funeral home chapel, with interment to follow at Raleigh Memorial Park.

Flowers are always welcome. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kitty Askins Hospice Center of Goldsboro, 107 Handley Park Court, Goldsboro, N.C., 27534.

Special thanks to the staff of the men's memory unit at Woodard Care of Goldsboro and Kitty Askins Hospice Center of Goldsboro for their kindness and compassionate care.

Condolences may be made to the family at www.MitchellatRMP.com.


Published in Obituaries on March 5, 2012 1:50 PM