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Robert "Bobby" O'Neal

June 8, 1934 ~ April 29, 2020 (age 85)



Bobby O’Neal peacefully died at home in the company of caregiving loved ones.

Bobby led a fully brimmed life on his own terms and one could practically hear the sound of a door closing as he left this life. Bobby often said, “Everyday is good day. But, some are better than others”. Undoubtedly, his twinkling eyes were wide with happy anticipation as he took his first step into a new, incredible day.

Bobby O’Neal was thoroughly rooted in Edgecombe County. And, he loved Tarboro. His historic home on Park Avenue is filled with all manner of memories and objects that testify to affection for local history. This home is also where Santa Claus lived. From mid-November to Christmas Eve, Bobby could be seen year after year in full regalia driving through Tarboro heading toward his next elementary school stop, hospital, or wherever children needed Santa most. He led us all to Christmas.

The world will miss Bobby. He was thoughtful, handsome, complex, and charming. He greatly appreciated a pretty girl. However, he also thought most highly of his 1200-lbs pet pig, “Pig-Pig”. He was a builder by profession who used his head and his hands to create outstanding work, especially, projects of historical significance in Tarboro. Bobby had many loves. But in the opinion of many, his greatest was his life-partner, Velma Eatmon. Through thick and thin, Velma gave unending care and devotion to her unique, challenging friend. They had a special love that was precious and rare.

Bobby O’Neal is survived by a brother, Sherwood O'Neal; sons, Michael O’Neal, Christopher O’Neal, and daughter Shelia O’Neal. His grandchildren Megan, Katie, Paxton, Eric, Max, and Sydney. Bobby was preceded in death by his son, Robert O'Neal, sisters, Marie and Jean.

Many friends also survive Bobby across a myriad of memories. A lucky few were fortunate to have shared a ten-hour float down the Tar River. Bobby had the fortitude of perseverance to overcome obstacles and succeed. It’s significant that some of his closest and most dedicated friends were also his employees. Irreplaceable Bobby O’Neal will remain in the hearts of many.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Kindred Hospice, 1712 W. Howard Avenue, Tarboro, NC 27886 or Edgecombe County Veteran's Military Museum , P.O. Box 115, Tarboro, NC 27886.

Arrangements are entrusted to Carlisle Funeral Home, Inc., of Tarboro. Online condolences may be directed to the family by visiting

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