Karen Lee O’Neal

Karen Lee O’Neal

Passed: March 22, 2024
North Charleston, WV

Karen Lee O’Neal

Passed: March 22, 2024
North Charleston, WV


Karen Lee O’Neal, SSGT, age 77 of North Charleston, WV, formerly of White Cloud, MI, passed away March 22, 2024, at CAMC Memorial hospice after battling a long-term respiratory illness.

Born February 8, 1947, in Miami, WV, Karen would alternate with cousins June and Nancy, daughters of Ebbie and Dorothy Wells, many evenings during her childhood reading the bible to her Grandma Wells. In her youth, she attended a small church in Sharon where she enjoyed sermons and one on one conversations with Pastor Joe Baldwin and the singing by the Stone sisters. While her brothers were wondering around the woods, Karen enjoyed the Sharon Holler library (bookmobile) avidly reading 100s of different books that intrigued her to quench her thirst for knowledge. Karen had fond memories of staying with her Mama O’Neal on the weekends where they had great conversations that she always cherished. She also enjoyed long railroad walks with “Papaw” Charley O’Neal to 5 spot and back. He would teach her about the West Virginia hills, nature, medical roots and how to make a paw paw whistle. In 1965, Karen graduated from East Bank High School and joined the United States Air Force at age 19. She became a dedicated Staff Sergeant in under 3 years which was unheard of. She was awarded the Air Force Accommodation Medal and won numerous awards including Miss March Air Force Base, California. If she would have stayed in the Air Force, her next 4- year enlistment would have been the President’s airplane, Air Force One, the prestige 89th airlift wing station at Andrew’s Air Force Base, Maryland. Throughout her military career she attended college courses and later completed her degree at Ferris State College in Michigan utilizing the GI bill. Afterwards, Karen became a case worker at Newaygo County Commission on Aging. This was her calling and passion, and she made many friends among her senior clients.

Upon Karen’s enlistment from the service she moved to Westerville, OH, with her best friend Kibby whom she met in 1966 in Texas after joining the Air Force. Karen and Kibby eventually made their way to White Cloud, MI where they used the GI bill to purchase the 100-acre farm they called home.

Cabin Creek was always a part of Karen and when she was away her heart, soul and mind never left the beautiful hills and hollows. Karen was a lifelong lover of animals and she especially adored Boston Terriers. She enjoyed all outdoor activities and was an avid hiker, kayaker, and softball player on the Sharon Holler dual dirt, rocks and coal turf field. Karen also enjoyed collecting glassware, her favorites being Carnival and Blue Willow.

Karen is survived by her precious fur baby, “Molly Wiggles,” loving friends and family, including her brothers William Stephen “Steve” O’Neal (Kim) and Richard Dale “Ricky” O’Neal, and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Archie Lee O’Neal and Virginia Pauline Wells O’Neal; sister, Virginia Kay Mullins, and her lifelong best friend, Dorothy “Kibby” M. Kibart.

Karen’s final resting place will be at Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery. Joint services for Karen and Kibby will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 17, 2024, at 130 Academy Drive, Dunbar, WV 25064.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Honor Guard or a local animal shelter per Karen’s wishes.

Condolences may be sent to family and friends at www.barlowbonsall.com .

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston, has been entrusted with the arrangements.


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1 responses to Karen Lee O’Neal

  1. April Zeller says:

    Karen was one of the finest human beings I know. She taught me so much about caring for Senior Citizens in our work. She taught me so much about life. She and Kibby were especially dear to my family when my mom was dying. They took her out for her first pontoon ride and supported us with genuine kindness. She loved God with her whole being. The last time we talked, she said she thought her time had come. I told her it would be okay, that I would be along in a while. I miss the “twang” of her voice and the care she gave us just by being her. May God watch over all of you. God bless

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