Sara was born on July 16, 1927 in Charlotte, North Carolina and earned her angel wings on May 23, 2016 surrounded by her three loving children and Jay Mize, who was like a son to her. She was a child of the depression which shaped her entire life and how she loved and cared for her family. Sara was born to Coite Martin Gaither and Sara Edna Bowers and is in the line of Amos Spurgeon, Thomas Alexander, Asbury, Zachariah, Benjamin III, John IV, John II, and John Gaither.
After graduating from Tech high school in Charlotte, Sara began her business career at Parnell Martin. She married Edward M. O’Neal in April 1950 and moved to Durham. She was a pillar in her church community while her children were growing up. Sara supported her husband and children in all their endeavors.
Sara worked on the Durham tobacco market in the early 1960’s paying the farmers for their tobacco. She then became the first MasterCard representative for Central Carolina Bank where she traveled around the triangle and triad regions serving as a Customer Service/New Merchant Sales Representative. She wore the bright orange and gold MasterCard colors. Sara retired from Central Carolina Bank in 1993 in order to stay home and take care of her husband.
Sara is predeceased by her mother, father, brother, and her husband of 54 years, Edward O’Neal Jr. Sara is survived by her three children: Patricia O’Neal Sullivan (David), Sara (Cissy) L. O’Neal, and Edward Michael O’Neal (Deena), 3 grandchildren, Lisa Harris, Julie Shirley, and Sarah Williams, and 7 great-grandchildren, Savannah Williams, Sarah MacKenzie Williams, Tyler Harris, Caroline Harris, Anderson Harris, Jordan Shirley and Jasmine Shirley. Sara also leaves behind her younger sister, Marilyn (Molly) G. Ray, her husband (William), their three children, Scott, Jeff, Rusty and their families. Also Sara is survived by nephews Ken O’Neal (Wanda) and his family and Allen O’Neal (Cherry) and his family.
With a strong Christian faith, Sara was a true southern lady—a gracious, warm, generous, welcoming, caring, loving woman who was always ready to lend a hand and who never met a stranger. Not only were her husband, children and family blessed with the gift of Sara as wife and mother, but Sara O’Neal touched the lives of her co-workers, neighbors, and friends with her energy and spirit.
Memorial contributions may be made to Duke Hospice – Hock Family Pavilion, 4023 N. Roxboro Road, Durham, NC 27704.