Ann Celeste O’Neill

PORTAGE – Ann Celeste O’Neill, age 98, passed away at home on August 1, 2020, surrounded by her loving family.

She was born on January 21, 1922, in Gary, Duluth, MN, the daughter of Paul and Catherine (Racki) Dragovich, immigrants of Croatia, Austria. As an infant, Ann was brought by horse drawn wagon to the family dairy farm near Aitkin, MN, where she had many fond memories growing up amid the woods and farm fields on Little Nord Lake.  She attended one-room Spencer School and graduated from Aitkin High School.

During the World War, Ann lived with her sister Mary in Chicago, IL, where she worked at Western Electric testing radios for the Navy.  Following the war, Ann Worked as an administrative office Supervisor for the Sears Roebuck Co., in Chicago.

Ann met Emmett O’Neill in 1946 shortly after his return from Navy service.  The couple were wed on October 7, 1947 at St. Mels Catholic Church in Chicago.  The couple had two surviving children, Emmett “Kevin” and Patricia Ann.  They lived their first years together in Chicago, IL, then Villa Park, IL. They moved to Chicago’s Norwood Park neighborhood in 1955.  Ann was a loving mother and homemaker.  Always active, she volunteered as a teacher’s aid at Immaculate Conception Grade School while Kevin attended school there.  Later, she served as the PTA president of the Thomas A. Edison Elementary School, and again was the PTA president at William Howard Taft High School, both while daughter Patricia was a student at those Chicago schools.

Emmett retired from a career with the City of Chicago in 1977.  In 1985 Emmett and Ann moved to a home on Lake Jerilyn near Johnsburg, McHenry Co., IL, where they spent the next happy decade of their lives.  In 1995 they moved to Portage, WI.  They had purchased a cabin on Long Lake in the early 1960’s.  Ann continued living at “the cottage” after Emmett’s passing.  She always enjoyed her outdoor surroundings.  She was a member of the Wauona Women’s Club and served three years as the president of the Catholic Women’s Club.  She later moved to The Phoenix Apartments in downtown Portage, where she made many friends and enjoyed social events as well as playing cards.  Ann spent her final months at the home of her son, Kevin and daughter-in-law, Diana.

Ann is survived by her children, Emmett “Kevin” (Diana) O’Neill of Portage, and Patricia (the late James) Jakab of Lake County, IL; grandchildren, Timothy (Melissa) O’Neill of Galesville, Katie (Todd) Seiler of Lewiston Township, Lauren (Justin) Urban of Waterford, WI, Kimberly, Steven and Cate Jakab of Lake County, IL; sister, Francis Norr of Little Falls, MN; nieces, nephews and many friends.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Emmett O’Neill, parents, Paul and Catherine Dragovich, sisters, Mary Malecki, Eleanor Dragovich and Betty Dragovich, and brothers, Tom, George, Michael and Steve Dragovich.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Portage on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, at 1:00 p.m., with Fr. Gary Krahenbuhl presiding. Burial will follow at St. Mary of the Pines, St. Camillus in Caledonia Township.  The Rosary will be prayed at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, followed by visitation from 11:00 a.m. until the time of Mass. Masks are required as well as social distancing.

The family would like to thank Agrace Hospice, especially Jordan, Chris and Kay for their care and kind attention given to Ann these past months.

The Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.


For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)