Corey John O’Neil, age 34, of North Carolina, originally of Salamanca, New York, passed away unexpectedly on August 5, 2019, at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, from endocarditis.
Corey was born prematurely with a congenital heart defect in Buffalo, New York, the beloved son of Mary Grace Kyler Wilson (Angel) of Apex, North Carolina and the late Daniel Paul O’Neil, who predeceased him in 2009. He was the stepson of Jess E. Wilson of Salamanca, New York.
Corey graduated from Salamanca High School in New York and BOCES in Ellicottville, New York in 2003 obtaining a welding certificate, and later CDL license. In high school, Corey was a standout wrestler who was a Section VI representative at the New York State Wrestling Tournament his senior year. He was known for his drive, determination, and toughness on the mat.
Corey was employed as a welder, truck driver, and snowmaker-nicknamed Hardcore-after high school. At the age of 22, he had an aortic heart valve replacement, which limited his physical activity. He continued snowmaking, and employment at Southern Tier Forest Products in Salamanca before being injured in a hunting incident. He continued to be a hard and committed worker throughout the rest of his life, staying busy in landscaping and most recently roofing.
Corey had recently moved to North Carolina to be near his mom and sisters, niece and nephew, and friends. He was happy spending time and working with his “brother” Chris Downey, who made Corey part of his family and introduced him to many who became good friends. He enjoyed fishing, boating, camping, and horseshoes. Corey was known for his quick smile and kind heart. He was at peace with where his journey had brought him.
Corey is survived and missed dearly by his mother, his sisters Caitlin O’Neil and Chloe Wilson both of Apex, North Carolina. He was an awesome uncle to Allie and Conner Wilshusen of Apex, North Carolina, and a good friend to their father Vincent Wilshusen, Raleigh, North Carolina. He was the grandson of Sara Kyler and the late John Kyler of Salamanca, New York; the late Philip (Petrie) Ambuske and Joyce O’Neil Ambuske of Great Valley, New York; and the late Jack O’Neil (Shirley) of Salamanca, New York. Corey was a loving and attentive grandson who enjoyed his grandparents at all his many sporting events throughout his school years, watching football with his grandfathers, and being spoiled by his grandmothers.
He is survived by several aunts and uncles: Shawn (Denise) O’Neil of Great Valley, New York; Buster (Julie) Kyler of Great Valley, and Patricia Kyler of Salamanca, New York; Sandra Hanson (Glen) of Ashland, Massachusetts, Candy and Brad Brown of KillBuck, New York; Dawn Wojtowicz (Bob) of Little Valley, New York, and Ronald Wojtowicz of Wilmington, North Carolina; and the late Tim O’Neil. Corey is survived by many cousins including a special relationship with cousin Jennifer (Josh) Massrock, and daughters, Raleigh, North Carolina.
The family would like to thank all for prayers and condolences and for remembering Corey as light in the lives of many.
Prayers were offered at Corey’s bedside by the Chaplain at Duke University Hospital. End of life was under the direction of Duke University Hospital and Ferguson Funeral Home in Raleigh, North Carolina. A Celebration of Life will be held at Myers in Salamanca, New York on October 6, 2019, at 1 p.m.
To send flowers to Corey's family, please visit our floral section.