Newspaper article talking about my dad

I talked to my mom last night, and found out that a work luncheon last Thursday turned into a tribute to my dad, and the woman who was there from the newspaper wrote the article almost entirely about that.

Matteson chamber’s first luncheon
Marty O’Neill honored during inaugural ceremony

Sunday, February 12, 2006
By Erika Enigk, The Star

The inaugural Matteson Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday became an unofficial tribute to a member who died in late 2005.

Directors and members fondly remembered the late Marty O’Neill, husband of chamber president Georgia O’Neill, at the event, which took place at University Golf Club in University Park.

O’Neill said the chamber’s board of directors was supportive after her husband died, offering to make things easier by maintaining their positions for an extra year.

As such, Tawny Sippel, of First National Bank in Chicago Heights, was installed as the organization’s 2006 board chairwoman.[…]

“He’d been sick for quite some time,” said immediate past chair Deb Sedberry, of U.S. Bank in Park Forest.

The late O’Neill’s illness had been hard on his family and the chamber alike, Sedberry added.

“He was a huge part of what we do,” she said. “He truly helped with every function. Whatever needed to be done, Marty was there.”

Because of his illness, chamber officials did not have the opportunity to do everything the board was hoping to do in 2005, Sippel said.

“His passing had a deep effect on all who knew him,” she said.

Maintaining the board seemed to be the best decision, Sedberry said.

Hildy Kingma, director of economic development and planning for the village of Park Forest, became teary-eyed when accepting the annual Chamber Choice Award at the luncheon.

A photo in The Star featured the late O’Neill giving Kingma a kiss at a chamber event and became a joke between them, she said.

“Every time he saw me after that, he made sure he gave me a kiss,” Kingma said. “MACC events will never be the same without my kiss from Marty.”

My sister sent the text of the article around to all the extended family and added this note: “What the article didn’t mention is that before Hildy left the podium she blew a kiss to the heavens and said ‘this one is for you, Marty.’ And left many in tears.”

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