Princeton area nonprofit volunteer and consultant Patricia O’Neill dies at 71

Patricia B. O’Neill, a dedicated community volunteer who worked to support many Princeton and Trenton area causes, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 12, at her home. She was 71.

Born in Jersey City to the late Charles F. Ruff and Marjorie L. (nee Price) Ruff, Patricia, who was also known as Patti, Gram P, and Ga-Ga, lived in New Jersey, and for the past 38 years was a resident of the Allenwood section of Wall Township.

Patti thrived on learning and sharing information with others. Her formal education was from Douglass College at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, and Georgian Court College. She was the principal at O’Neill & Associates, LLC since 1990, and worked with nonprofit organizations bringing awareness to their brand, programs, services, and events. She supported organizations such as Catholic Charities, Interfaith Caregivers of Mercer County, Princeton Community Works, Women in Development, and the Center for Non-Profits. She also worked for the ARC Kohler School and Lupus Foundation of America.

Her passion to work to support others was tangible. You could always find Patti welcoming attendees at area events, and her personality and demeanor were contagious and fun. She always focused on making others feel welcome and on the cause she was supporting, never focusing the spotlight on herself.

She was a recipient of the March of Dimes State of New Jersey Volunteer of the Year Award in 1996 and in 1990 the Virginia Apgar Award for the March of Dimes, an organization that she and her late husband supported.

Patti was the oldest of eight siblings and her favorite times were talking, texting, and visiting, along with making and sharing memories. She loved the beach, funnel cakes, the color orange, and shamrocks, singing (she was not exceptionally good), and most of all her family.

She is predeceased by her husband, Donald H. O’Neill (1990), and survived by daughters Melissa O’Neill Walczak and husband Eugene, grandson Mason; Karen O’Neill Douvas, and husband Paul, and grandchildren Caden and Callie. Her immediate family includes: Charles F. Ruff, III and son Charles F. Ruff, IV; Marjorie L. (Ruff) Woods (deceased); Lawrence W. Ruff and Gregory B. Holmes; Thomas P. and Doreen A. Ruff and children Thomas P. Ruff, Jr. and Kristen F. Ruff; Susan D. Ruff and
Edmund D. Farris, Jr. and children Samantha Farris and Cory and Jon Wilson; Teresa E. (Ruff) Wickman and Kevin J. Wickman and children Matthew J. and Amanda Wickman plus grandnephew Lincoln and Jenna Wickman; and James A. Ruff and niece Kylie G. Ruff. Along with numerous extended family members.

Visitation will be on Monday, April 18, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the O’Brien Funeral Home, 2028 Hwy 35 at New Bedford Road in Wall Township, followed by a Mass of Christian burial on Tuesday, April 19, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Rose Church, 603 7th Avenue, Belmar. Interment in St. Catharine’s Cemetery, Sea Girt.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Patricia be made to the Foundation for
Morristown Medical Center, 475 South Street, First Floor, Morristown, NJ 07960. The O’Brien Funeral Home in Wall Township is overseeing the arrangements for the family. To offer condolences please visit