Edwin Burdell O’Neil Sr.

ROCK FALLS – The Rev. Edwin Burdell O’Neil Sr., beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, pastor, and friend, went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009. He had lived in Rock Falls since 1977, and currently was living at Pleasant View Nursing Home in Morrison.

Burdell was born Sept. 24, 1921, in Ziegler, the son of Raymond and Bertha (Boles) O’Neil. He grew up in West Frankfort. He married his lifelong sweetheart, Nomabel Hutchings, on Feb. 14, 1946, in West Frankfort. He and Nomabel were the proud and loving parents of three children, Ed, Rick, and Joy.

Burdell graduated from West Frankfort High School. He served in the U.S. Army in the 96th Infantry Division as a chaplain’s assistant. He served in Hawaii, the island of Mindanao, Laity Island, Okinawa, and the Philippines. He was hit by shrapnel in 1945, and was awarded the Purple Heart, as well as the Bronze Star for service above and beyond the call of duty. He was honorably discharged in 1946.

After he and Nomabel were married, he attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale receiving a diploma in English Bible. He then attended and graduated from Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Ky., with a degree in theology. He was a member of Maranatha Baptist Church.
After being ordained to the gospel ministry in October 1946, he pastored at churches in Coello, Carbondale, Marion, Creal Springs, Enfield, Murrayville, Cairo, Rolla, Mo., DuQuoin, Pinckneyville, Centralia, Joy, Rapids City, and finally, Maranatha Baptist in Rock Falls since 1977. He enjoyed being a pastor.

Burdell enjoyed spending time with his family, fishing, putting jigsaw puzzles together, singing, and admiring old cars. His greatest pleasure in life was serving his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He loved to witness to people and tell them of God’s love and redemption.

He truly was called by God to be a minister. Even during hospital stays, hooked up to intravenously, he never failed to ask doctors and nurses if they had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

After entering the nursing home, he led several Bible studies, witnessed to the people there, and kept a prayer list of requests that he added to daily. He touched many lives and his godly influence will be felt for many years.

Burdell got such a kick from his kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, and all their friends. Together, with his wife, Nomabel, he always would read the daily Bible readings and include everyone in the house. The highlight of family Christmas get-togethers was his reading of the Christmas Story from the Bible.

Burdell had a serious side, but when he loved you, you knew it. He always was concerned with people’s salvation. His kids and their friends knew they were special because he cared about them.
He had the rare privilege of leading his three children to the Lord, baptizing them, and presiding over their marriage ceremonies.

To the people of the church, he was Pastor or Brother O’Neil. Even for many people who didn’t attend his church, he still was considered their pastor.

To his family, he was Dad, Papa, or PawPaw. He truly will be missed because he was a great man and lived a godly life.

Burdell was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Nomabel, in March of 2009. Their love for each other and the Lord served as an example for all those around them.

Burdell is survived by his son, Ed O’Neil Jr. of Rock Hill, S.C.; son, Rick (Karen) O’Neil of Dixon; daughter, Joy (Jon) Colberg of Rock Falls; grandchildren, Jesse Carlson (Jeffery) of Madison, Wis., Michele (Grant) O’Neil of Chester, S.C., and David O’Neil of Rock Hill, S.C.; great-grandchildren, Sophia Carlson of Madison, Wis., Tanner O’Neil of Chester, S.C., Theodore Matos-Carlson of Madison, Wis., and Gage Puckett of Chester, S.C.; his brother, Harold (Marolyn) O’Neil of Carbondale; and many nieces and nephews.

Burdell also is survived by his church family at Maranatha; special friends, Keith and Mary Farmer and their family; Ed and Donna Handkins and their family; Larry and Judy Colberg and their family; and his special bunch of “kids,” Brenda, Darrel, Darrel, and Mikel Angier; Leanne, Mike, and Matthew Schumacher; Pam, Tim, Daniel, and Colin Long; and Nancy, Donald, Anabelle, Dawson, Sydney, Ellouise, and Cordilia Hill.

Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Maranatha Baptist Church, 2103 Walter St., Rock Falls, with the Rev. Edward Handkins officiating. Burial will be at Oak Knoll Memorial Park, Sterling.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today and from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday at the church. Arrangements were completed by McDonald Funeral Home, Rock Falls.

A memorial has established to Maranatha Baptist Church, Rock Falls.

Visit www.mcdonaldfuneralhomes.com to send condolences.