Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill came to the high-court bench as the proverbial renaissance man.
Before being elected as an appellate judge in 1997, he was a registered nurse at Hillcrest Hospital, an affiliate of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
The retired U.S. Army officer and Vietnam veteran also worked as both a newspaper and television reporter in previous years.
O’Neill served for 10 years on the 11th District Court of Appeals prior to becoming the 156th justice to the Supreme Court of Ohio Jan. 2, 2013.
A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, the justice was awarded the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal for his service during the Vietnam War.
He served as the commanding officer of the Armored Cavalry Troop from Painesville, retiring from the Ohio National Guard as a Judge Advocate General Lieutenant Colonel in 1996.
In 2007, he was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
O’Neill is a graduate of Ohio University, Cleveland Marshall College of Law, and Huron School of Nursing.
He served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Ohio from 1984 to 1996, representing the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the Industrial Commission of Ohio.
In private practice, he founded O’Neill & Brown in Geneva, where he represented small businesses and individuals in both civil and criminal cases.
The justice’s interest in public service was paralleled in his personal life. An adoptive parent, O’Neill has four grown children
His current term ends Jan. 1, 2019.
A biography published by the Ohio Supreme Court was used to supplement this story.