Durham, N.C. / Marion, Va.
Alvis Vernon O’Neal (A.V.), age 98, of Durham, NC and later of Marion, Virginia died on December 13, 2019 of natural causes while in residence at Brookdale Assisted Living in Monroe NC.
He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, his first wife, Ruby Parker O’Neal, and both of their children, Stephen V. O’Neal and Kathy O. Pressing.
He is survived by his son-in-law, Andrew Pressing of Wytheville, his second wife, Barbara C. O’Neal & her family, John & Anita Bishop of Waxhaw NC, grandson & wife, Andrew & Jessica Bishop of Carthage NC; Julie Bishop and grandchildren Dory Paxton and great-granddaughter, True Paxton of Southport NC; Niles Paxton of Asheville NC, and nieces and nephews in Durham NC.
AV volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corp in January 1941 and served 4 years and 8 months. He was trained as an aerial gunner and was certified by the Air Force Technical School as a photographer. He attained the rank of Technical Sergeant during WWII in the 415th Bomb Squad and 98th Bomb Group. He served in Campaigns in Italy, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Sicily. He received the American Defense Service Medal, EAMET Campaign with (8) bronze service stars and a Distinguished unit badge. He developed the film from Operation Tidal Wave of the bombing of the Ploiesti oil fields in Romania that are included in Time Life Books on WWII.
He was a member of the Marion Baptist Church serving as a Deacon and in other areas of church life. He was a member of Holston Hills Golf Club for over 40 years & had a record (4) Holes-In-One. He was a licensed pilot and loved flying. He loved traveling and had visited all 50 of the United States of America. He was a lifetime member of the VFW Post 4667 & was the post photographer. He was a member of the Marion Lions Club. He was integral in the historical documentation of the Virginia interstate system by taking the aerial photographs of the interchanges & bridges during construction. He received a Key to the City for his years of distinguished service to the City of Marion.
He retired after 33 years from Greear Photography Studio in Marion VA and later from his own company as a professional photographer. If your school had a club or team picture, if your family had a reunion, if your church had an event, or your child graduated, got christened or got married in Smyth County, chances are A.V. O’Neal, with the help of his wife Barbara, captured the memory in photo’s.
It was best said by the Smyth County News & Messenger, “From learning to develop film in his Mother’s kitchen to Army desert tents, from the war zone to VFW ceremonies honoring those who fought, from the air to the studio: O’Neal has lived a life of recording moments and printing their visual records, taking pictures like he’s done it forever. Because he has.”
Visitation will be held at 10:00 on Saturday, January 4th at the Marion Baptist Church at 1258 N. Main St., Marion, VA. Followed by service at 11:00 and interment at Rose Lawn Cemetery at 4410 Lee Hwy., Marion VA.
The family appreciates your show of support at this time in our loss of this wonderful man, who was a great husband, father, friend, Veteran, church & civic leader.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that memorials should be sent to VFW Post 4667, P.O. Box 767, Marion VA 24354 with notifications sent to the family: John Bishop PO Box 250, Mineral Springs, NC 28108.
To share memories of A.V. O’Neal, please visit www.seaverbrown.com. Care for A.V.’s family has been entrusted to Seaver-Brown Funeral Service and Crematory, 237 East Main Street, Marion VA 24354.