Bruce O’Neal, a 77 year resident of Santa Barbara, died on October 26, 2010, after a lengthy illness.
Bruce was born on December 6, 1919, in Alexandria Virginia and spent his early years in Oregon. He moved to Santa Barbara in 1932, attended Santa Barbara Jr. High and graduated from Santa Barbara High in 1937. During high school, he met his future wife, Georgia, and they attended USC together, then married in 1941, at the First Presbyterian Church on Anapamu Street.
Bruce was a WWII Veteran serving in the Navy from 1944 to 1945. He graduated from UCSB with a degree in Economics, working a variety of jobs before opening The Barn Furniture Store on Micheltorena Street, in 1948. Until he retired in 1979 you could find new, used, baby or party equipment at The Barn. All 4 of their children attended Harding Elementary, La Cumbre Junior High, and Santa Barbara High Schools.
Greatly interested in promoting education and excellence in the community, Bruce was an active participant in numerous organizations in Santa Barbara. Groups benefiting from his leadership talents and infectious enthusiasm included: First Presbyterian Church, Santa Barbara School Board (1951-1963), Santa Barbara Recreation Commission, Santa Barbara YMCA (48 years), Channel Islands YMCA, Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation, Santa Barbara Rotary Club, Santa Barbara Industry Education Council, the Come Clean Santa Barbara Committee, Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, City Planning Commission, County Planning Commission, Amvets, and Adventures in Caring Foundation. He earned several distinguished service awards over the years including Santa Barbara Man of the Year, Reuben J. Irvin Award, News-Press Lifetime Achievement, Channel Islands YMCA Distinguished Service Award, and Rotary Paul Harris Award.
In 1987, Georgia, his loving wife of 46 years passed away. He is survived by a daughter Sharone Lathrop (Jim Brown) of McLean, VA; a son Don (Bob Moore) of Falls Church, VA; a son Brian of La Palma, CA; a daughter Kaaron Williams (Randall), and granddaughter, Amber of Burbank, CA; and grandsons Dr. Scott O’Neal (Lisa) and Eric O’Neal (Brandi); and great grand-children Kayla, Jayden and Grady; and Dr. Mary Scopatz, his loving partner of over 20 years who was with him at the time of his death.
During retirement Bruce enjoyed many vacations with his kids and their families, and traveled extensively with Mary around the world. He could also be seen “tooling” around town in his 1956 black T-Bird enjoying another beautiful day in paradise.
Memorial services have been set for Saturday December 4th, 1:00pm at the Santa Barbara First Presbyterian Church located at 21 E. Constance Ave.