Carolyn Joan O'Neal
Carolyn Joan (Vahlkamp) O'Neal went to be with our Lord on Sunday, October 8, 2017 at the age of 84. She was born on September 29, 1933 and grew up as the oldest of 7 children in Quincy, Illinois. She was preceded in death by her husband, Don O'Neal, and her parents Raymond and Emma (Brinkman) Vahlkamp. She is survived by her 2 children: Mary Beth (O'Neal) Hayes and husband Tim, Donnie O'Neal and wife Carolyn, 2 brothers (Raymond Vahlkamp, Jr. and Danial Valhkamp), 4 sisters (Margie Rose, Elaine McKinstry, Kristine Dennis, and Paulette Vahlkamp), 5 granddaughters and 12 great grandchildren.
Joan married Don at St. John's Catholic Church in Quincy, Illinois in May of 1954 after a blind date and a short engagement. Thus began her journey with her husband that began in New Orleans and eventually brought the couple and their 2 children to La Porte, TX and St. Mary's Catholic Church.
Joan was a dedicated member of St. Mary's Church for 35 years. Among her many volunteer efforts there she served as vice-president and secretary of the altar society. She took a flower arranging class at San Jacinto College so that she could buy the flowers for the altar and arrange them herself. She also took a quilting class at the same college and then joined the quilting group at St. Mary's. This group of ladies handcrafted a quilt every year to be auctioned off for the altar society at their annual Thanksgiving dinners as well as many other quilts to benefit the church. She was always there to assist with those Thanksgiving meals lovingly preparing the food and serving it to fellow parishioners with that beautiful smile of hers. In addition, she spent many hours cleaning the church and helping with the decorations at Easter and Christmas. Caring for the linens in church was another way she expressed her devotion to her Lord. She would say that she did not care for this particular assignment, but would offer it up as penance. She also served as a CCD teacher during the years when the seminary building was still across the street from the church.
Joan had many interests and hobbies in her life which included quilting, sewing, crafting, cooking and gardening. She enthusiastically shared those interests with family and friends. She also enjoyed boating with her husband and fishing and crabbing with her children and grandchildren. She was an avid fan of the Houston Oilers and Astros and attended many of their games with her husband in the Astrodome.
Joan's affection to her Catholic faith was her foundation for being the loving wife and mother that she was. She remained committed to her husband, Don, as she cared for him during the years he suffered with Alzheimer's disease. Her love for him and her family was endless. She had a special relationship with His Blessed Mother Mary and remained faithful to her rosary even in her final days. She was a selfless angel in this life and an inspiration to all who knew her. She is now an angel with God and all his Saints in heaven. Until we are with her again, she will be missed.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, November 6, 2017 beginning at 9:00 AM in the Duker & Haugh Funeral Home. Interment in Sunset Cemetery of the Illinois Veterans Home. Memorials may be made to the Monastery of the Infant Jesus, 1501 Lotus Ln, Lufkin TX 75904. The Duker & Haugh Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.