Balvina O’Neil, 101, died on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, at home, with her family at her side. Mrs. O’Neil was born on Feb. 10, 1920, to her parents Frank and Aurora Cobo, in the mining town of Hayden. Her father worked for Kennecott Copper Corp., and her mother was a homemaker.
Balvina was preceded in death by her husband, Raymond, who passed on in 2003; her parents; brother Frank Jr.; and daughter, JoAnn (Bob) Brady.
She is survived by her daughters, Rose Marie (John) McKee and Beverly (Ron) Sharp; grandchildren, Stephanie (Loren) Dawson, Jeffrey (Sheila) McKee and Jennifer (Jeremy) Bold (née McKee). She is also survived by her great-grandchildren, Lance, Kyle, Samuel and Kaitlyn McKee; Gaven and Faith Dawson; and Madison and Brandon Bold.
She attended Hayden Schools, graduating from Hayden High School in 1938, where she excelled in academics, softball and tennis. Upon her high school graduation, she attended Arizona State Teacher College (now, Arizona State University), majoring in Elementary Education.
Balvina met her husband, Raymond John O’Neil, at a dance and they were married in 1939. They had three daughters. Rose Marie was born to them in Ray. They moved to San Diego where daughters Jo Ann and Beverly were born. During WWII, Raymond went into the U.S. Army, serving in the Pacific Theater. He fought in the islands and was stationed on Okinawa, waiting to go to Japan, when the war ended. When Raymond went to war, Balvina returned to Hayden with their daughters where, after the war, they decided to remain.
Raymond worked at Kennicott and Balvina at the Hayden Post Office, retiring as Postmaster in 1985. She was a member of the Hayden Town Council where she was instrumental in the improvement of the Hayden Golf Course and was a member of the Library Board, where she was delighted to read to young children.
Balvina loved to travel with Raymond, touring Europe, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska and the Caribbean. They enjoyed traveling through the U.S., especially Texas and California to visit grandchildren. There were family trips to Washington D.C. and New York City, where they attended New York Yankee games. Every year they went to Florida to see the Yankees in spring training. They were always recognized and greeted by team members and owner George Steinbrenner. In 1993 they moved to Casa Grande to be closer to their children.
Services will be private.