Betty O’Neal


Longtime Malibu resident Betty O’Neal died of complications from renal failure on Nov. 10. She was 86 years old.

O’Neal was born Sept. 21, 1923 in Chicago and as an infant moved to Spokane, Wash. where her father, Dr. William Robinson, opened his own medical facility.

O’Neal’s parents divorced and her mother brought her and her brother, Bill Robinson, to live in Santa Monica where she attended Lincoln Junior High School and graduated from Santa Monica High School. She studied interior design at UCLA for two years and then worked for Howard Hughes, even delivering some of his aircraft blueprints on a bicycle.

O’Neal met her future husband, Douglas O’Neal, whose father was also a well respected surgeon at Santa Monica Hospital. In 1954 they moved to Malibu Colony, where their passion in life was the ocean. They raised five children: Scott, Bonnie (Shirk), Bobby, Tommy and Cary.

O’Neal temporarily relocated to Spokane when Douglas died in 1974, only to return and reside in Westlake Village the past 20 years where she worked for Pastor Dr. Craig Johnson at the Bethel Christian Fellowship.

“Betty was a mom to everyone,” her daughter, Bonnie Shirk, said Tuesday. “She was so full of love and compassion and was always there when needed. Her sense of humor never ceased to amaze and her infectious smile was comforting. Betty leaves behind an incredible amount of friends and family who will miss her deeply.”

A celebration of O’Neal’s life will be held Dec. 5 at the United Methodist Church of Westlake Village, 1049 South Westlake Blvd., at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the charity of your choice.