Ben O’Neal with his cat, Sunshine. Photo courtesy of the family.

Robert Benjamin (Ben) O’Neal, 68, of Ocracoke, died on Tuesday, March 21.

A native of Ocracoke, Ben was born on April 7, 1954, in Morehead City and was a son of the late Mildred O’Neal and Ronald T. O’Neal Sr.

Ben was a graduate of Ocracoke High School and held numerous jobs thereafter: working with Army Corps of Engineers on a dredge in different areas and assisting a good friend while driving a Mayflower moving van across the country, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

He also worked at The Community Store, at the Ocracoke Variety Store and on a dredge for the state.

Finally, Ben had the opportunity to work with the North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division where he ended up retiring after 38 years of service as a dedicated ferry mate.

Ben enjoyed sharing historical facts and dates with those around him.

He made friends everywhere he went and cherished spending time with family and friends.

Ben also would drive fish trucks to different locations, which he also enjoyed.

He always had a joke and loved kidding with the young as well as the old.

He was deeply grateful for his family, the opportunities he received during his life and the wonderful coworkers and friends he made during his lifetime. Ben was loved by all and had a smile that would light up a room.

Ben is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Christine O’Neal; daughter, Shannon Love and husband Eric of Boca Raton, Florida; grandchildren, Lindsay Waldman and husband Benjamin of Orlando, Florida, and Preston Love of Boca Raton, Florida; great-granddaughter, Rory Waldman of Orlando, Florida; two brothers, Ronald T. O’Neal Jr. (Kathleen) and Michael Warren O’Neal, both of Ocracoke; several nieces and nephews, numerous cousins and his fur-baby, Sunshine.

A graveside service will be held at the Ocracoke Community Cemetery at 1 p.m. April 26 for the friends and family of Robert Benjamin O’Neal.  Immediately following the service, everyone is invited to 260 British Cemetery Road for fellowship, and food provided by Fess Winstead.

Memorial donations may be made to the Lifesaving Church, Ocracoke United Methodist Church, or the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department.

The family would like to sincerely thank all who offered support during Ben’s illness, especially Kelley, Scott, Jim, Jimmy, Ronnie Van, Martha, Jamie, Linda, Fletcher, Dr. Erin Baker, the Ocracoke Health Center and many others.

Twiford Funeral Homes, Outer Banks, is assisting the family with arrangements.

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