Cyril P. O'Neill was born February 5, 1911, in Ardoch, N.D., the son of Frank and Sarah O'Neill. His family moved to Grand Forks when he was five years old. He attended St. Michaels Grade School, St. James High School, and the University of North Dakota from 1928 until 1930. From 1931 until 1933, he worked for the North Dakota State Mill in the Grain Inspection Department. In 1934, he began his career with Northern States Power Co. as a steam plant fireman and rose through the ranks, retiring in 1976 as superintendent.
An athlete as a youth, he played hockey and softball and was a member of the North Dakota state championship softball team in 1933. On November 8, 1934 he married Adeline Fiala and they had five children, Sarah, Susan, Peggy, Timothy, and Peter. O'Neill served in World War II from July 1943 to December 1945 in the 123rd Construction Battalion (SeaBees), U.S. Navy. He was discharged at the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
In 1947, he was appointed 4th Ward Alderman to finish the term of the late Ben Shue. He was elected Alderman in 1948, re-elected in 1952 and 1956. He lost the election of 1960, but was re- elected again in 1964 and 1968. O'Neill was elected mayor in 1972 and re-elected in 1976. He declined to run for office in 1980 and retired from public service. After retiring from office, O'Neill and his wife Addie opened O'Neill's Wood'n You Finish furniture store. He died on August 1, 1986.
Donation; Acc. #84-1295
The C.P. O'Neill Papers were received unorganized and were arranged into two series:
SERIES I: Personal The first series includes biographical material, correspondence, family memorabilia and scrapbooks. The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.
SERIES II: Mayor This series primarily contains material from O'Neill's two terms as Mayor of Grand Forks from 1972-1980. The folders contain personal papers, city documents, newspaper clippings, desk diaries and photographs. The collection does not contain a complete day to day record of Mayor O'Neill's terms of office. Instead, it reflects high points in his mayoral career and significant issues related to the city of Grand Forks. The Southside Annexation issue of 1973-1975 and the Columbia Road Overpass issue of 1969-1980 are well documented. O'Neill's re-election campaign of 1976 file contains information about city issues of the time.