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American Patriotic 11


James Samuel O'Neal

May 23, 1931 ~ August 25, 2018 (age 87)

Lt. Colonel James Samuel O’Neal, US Army Retired, 87, of Florence, SC, passed away on Saturday, August 25, 2018, at McLeod Hospice House. Sam was born May 23, 1931, in Blenheim, SC, to Thomas A and Sadie Whittington O’Neal, Sr.  He was preceded in death by his parents and by his beloved wife, Peggy Thomas O’Neal.


Sam attended Key Elementary School and graduated from Latta High School.  He received his undergraduate degree from Clemson and his MBA from the University of Central Florida.


 After graduating from Clemson, Sam joined the Army and served as a reconnaissance troop commander along the West German-Czechoslovakian border for three years.  Later, he taught military history at Indiana University.  After this, he served as a senior advisor to a Vietnamese Armor Regiment which successfully relieved the sieges of Special Forces camps at Duc Co and Plei Mei.  Subsequently he served as a staff officer in Washington, DC with the Strategy and Tactics Analysis Group, as Secretary of the General Staff at Fort Knox, KY, as commander of the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron and another tour as Advisor to the Armor Command in Vietnam.


Col. O’Neal’s decorations included two awards of the Legion of Merit; one award of the Bronze Star Medal for Valor and three awards of the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious service; one award of the Meritorious Service Medal; one award of the Commendation Medal for Valor and one for Meritorious Service; two awards of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry; the Vietnamese Honor Medal; the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and many other service and campaign medals. 


Sam was an elder in the Presbyterian Church and served as Clerk of Session and as a Sunday school teacher for many years.  He served on several Presbytery committees and was a Trustee of the Synod of the South.


The children surviving are:  Karen O’Neal (Taylor) Clarkson of Summerville, SC, Patrick T. (Penny) O’Neal of Oviedo, FL, Jaime O’Neal (Mike) Lobdell of Plano, IL, and Sheri O’Neal Mentzel of Florence, SC; grandchildren include, Jason (Marcela) Pundt, Capt. Jeremy (Stephanie) Pundt, Alexis Lobdell (Mike) Scott, Tyler (Mallory) Lobdell, Megan (Alfredo) Berrios, and Mia O’Neal; and four great-grandchildren.   Brothers are Tommy and Charles O’Neal of Blenheim; sister-in-law, Jackie Moore of Orlando, FL; Brother-in-law, Mike (Laura) Thomas of Latta; and many nieces, nephews, gran- nieces and grand-nephews.


A funeral service will be held at 1:00 PM in the chapel of Cain Calcutt Funeral Home with burial to follow with full military honors at the Florence National Cemetery.  The family will speak to those in attendance at the cemetery.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to McLeod Hospice, PO Box 100551
Florence, SC 29502-0551.

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