CHESTER - Robin Estelle O'Neil, 50, of Chester died Monday, June 27, 2005, at the Liberty County Hospital in Chester due to cancer.
Her memorial services will be 11 a.m. Friday at the Chester Assembly of God Church. It was Robin's request that all family and friends planning to attend her funeral
dress in bright, colorful, spring attire.
Robin was born July 4, 1954, at Great Falls to Douglas and Josephine (Plank) Gunderson. She grew up on the family farm north of Chester and received her early schooling at the Osler Country School. Robin transferred into Joplin, where she graduated from Joplin High School in 1972. She continued her education at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, where she majored in early childhood development and minored in art. Robin earned her bachelor's degree and graduated with honors from Rocky in 1976.
She moved to Helena and ran a daycare center for several years. In 1979 she purchased the Fish & Chip Shoppe on 10th Avenue South in Great Falls.
In the fall of 1982, Robin met Kevin D. O'Neil, an NCO stationed at Malmstrom in Great Falls. They were married at the Malmstrom Air Force Base Chapel on April 23, 1983. Robin sold her business in 1985, when Kevin was transferred to Oahu, Hawaii. While there, Robin ran a daycare business in their home. In 1987 their only child, Joshua, was born in Hawaii.
The O'Neils returned to Great Falls in 1988. Robin continued to operate daycare from her home. That same year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, so she underwent the gamut of aggressive treatment. After Kevin retired from the military in 1997, they moved to the Gunderson ranch north of Chester. In addition to being a farmwife, homemaker and mother, Robin taught music at the Sage Creek Hutterite Colony near the farm. They moved into Chester in 2001.
Robin remained cancer-free for 10 years, but her disease metastasized in 1998. She continued to receive appropriate treatments.
Robin was baptized and confirmed at the Immanuel Lutheran Church north of Joplin. During her years in Great Falls she was active at the Victory Christian Center. In Hawaii she attended the Hope Chapel in Aiea. During these recent years in Chester, she was a loyal member of the Assembly of God Church.
In her youth, Robin enjoyed painting pictures and completing collages and macram projects. She was active in 4-H and Luther League. During her high school years, she was a member of the drill team and graduated third in her class. While in college, she participated in a select choral group and had the privilege of traveling to Norway to study her family ancestry. She also visited France and Germany on that trip.
Robin enjoyed singing. She also strummed a little on the guitar. In her quiet time at home, she loved to read, especially mysteries and Christian stories. She enjoyed studying local Hutterite life and customs. And she collected spoons. Robin was also a good cook.
Robin's passion in life was children. She loved teaching, communicating and associating with kids of all ages. Her goal was their happiness.
Robin registered as an organ donor and her corneas were donated upon her death.
Robin was preceded in death by her parents.
Survivors include her husband of 22 years, Kevin O'Neil of Chester; son, Joshua O'Neil of Chester; siblings, Dale (Lanea) Gunderson of Chester, Judy Gunderson of Chester, Leonard (Katheryn "Kit") Gunderson of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Dennis (Jeri) Gunderson of the Philippines; brother-in-law, Philip (Liz) Perlman of Las Vegas, Nev.; sister-in-law, Robin (Jack) Markham of Los Alamos, N.M.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Undesignated memorials will be given to the Hi-Line WABC or to a scholarship fund at the music department at Chester High School.
Cremation and arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.