Mick O’Neil 1947-2001
It was this past Saturday afternoon, May 26, 2001, right around 4:00 pm. My daughter Raechel and I had been at a cousin’s birthday party all afternoon. I decided to check my email, as I like to do at least fifty times a day, when I got a message informing me that my friend and fellow MyMac.com writer, Mick O’Neil, had suddenly passed away.
I am still in a state of shock, but not as much as I was when I first read that email. I did not want to believe it; it just couldn’t be true. So I called Mick’s house in Rota, Spain, and talked to his wife Susan. She confirmed it and later that night his brother Jerry also sent a note to let me and everyone else at MyMac.com know the sad news. Even then I still could not believe it… I still don’t want to.
Mick was only fifty-four years old, far way too young to have been taken from us. Jerry O’Neil (Mick’s brother) wrote the following:
“He had just finished a game of tennis with his daughter Megan, a sport which he loved and played for the last 30 or so years, when he collapsed and died instantly. Medical help was only minutes away but could do nothing to help him. He is survived by a wife, Susan, and two children, Kevin and Megan and seven brothers and sisters.”
Mick O’Neil was the writer of the immensely popular MacFactor. I can say immensely popular because every time we would post a new MacFactor to the website, I would check our stats page the next day and see just how many people read his column.
Mick was a brilliant writer. I don’t say that just to honor his memory but because it is the truth. But don’t just take my word for it, read some of his work listed here. Below you will find links to all of Mick’s writing. (You can also download a collected volume in both DOCMaker and PDF format.) The sheer volume of it is amazing. If you tried to print it all, it would be almost 400 pages.
Just think about that number for a moment. In four years, Mick has written almost 400 pages on Apple, Macintosh, education, product reviews and fiction, for no other reason than because he enjoyed it. Not for the money (he made none here) but for pure enjoyment and his desire to entertain you or inform you. He did it with skill, style and taste. I started MyMac.com (first as My Mac Magazine before moving to a web-only format) to try and hone my writing ability. Mick needed no such honing.
Mick made his living in education. Not only was it how he made a living, it was his passion as well. I remember many a night chatting with Mick via America Online Instant Messenger about education, computers, and Apple. But it was education that he was always most passionate about, he lived and breathed it.
Wherever Mick is now, I know he is still able to log on to the Internet. I just know it. And I know a part of him would hate all this “Tribute” stuff, being the modest guy he was. So I hope he forgives me for this but I cannot simply post a brief note. And since I know you’re reading this, Mick, I hope you know just how much you meant to others and me here at My Mac as well. I was told you really loved writing here. I hope I told you often enough how much I enjoyed not only publishing what you wrote for the world to see but how much I really enjoyed reading it. You gave a sense of class to our humble little corner of the Mac web with your brilliant writing. Your talent was and will always be an inspiration to me, and I can only hope to be the writer you were.
Publisher, My Mac Magazine