Justice William O’Neill served ten years on the 11th District Court of Appeals from 1997 to 2007. He is a graduate of Ohio University, Cleveland Marshall College of Law and Huron School of Nursing. Before being elected and re-elected to the Court of Appeals, he was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio from 1984 to 1996. He also sat by assignment on the Supreme Court of Ohio at the request of the Chief Justice.
Before being sworn in as Justice, William O’Neill worked as a Registered Nurse in the Pediatric Emergency Department of Hillcrest Hospital, an affiliate of the Cleveland Clinic. Mrs. O’Neill died in a car accident in 1995; Justice O’Neill raised his four children as a single parent near Chagrin Falls.
FAMILY and LIFE
Bill O’Neill’s whole life has been about service. He is a former Judge, an Army Officer, a Registered Nurse and an adoptive parent. Upon graduation from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism, he found himself on active duty with the United States Army three weeks later. As a young Lieutenant, he served in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal. He retired from the Ohio National Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. In 2007, Governor Ted Strickland inducted Bill O’Neill into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
Bill’s work career has been varied and interesting. He has been an apprentice Ironworker (Local 17); worked as a reporter for a small town newspaper (Sandusky Register); a television reporter for a major television station (Channel 4, Columbus); a union organizer for both the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO and the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA); a small business owner in Geneva On the Lake; a small town lawyer (Geneva); and a Pediatric Emergency Room Nurse at Hillcrest Hospital, an affiliate of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Bill went to law school on the GI Bill and served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio for twelve years before being elected to the 11th District Court of Appeals in 1996. He served two terms as Presiding Judge on the Court and sat by assignment on the Supreme Court of Ohio. In 2004 and 2006, Bill was the Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court and his legendary refusal to accept contributions as a Judge “No Money From No Body” landed him on the front page of the Sunday New York Times. Click here for ‘Money & Judges Don’t Mix’ video.
At age 50, Bill went back to school to become a nurse, and he worked nights in the pediatric ER of Hillcrest Hospital, an affiliate of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He’s a proud father of four grown children, whom he raised alone after their mother, Shaylah, died in a car accident in 1995.
Justice William Michael O’Neill
The Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street
Columbus, OH 43215-3436