Cynthia Marston O’Neil, 65, of South Portland, passed away in the early hours of August 2, 2019 in Scarborough. She was born and raised in Bangor, the second child of Charles F. Marston and Elizabeth “Betty” Ann (O’Connor).
Bright and playful from the start, Cindy was an extraordinary student with a gift for foreign languages. She was the Salutatorian of her 1971 graduating class at Bangor High School. She earned a B.A. in French from the University of Maine, with highest distinction, in 1975, where she was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She then earned a master’s degree in French Education in 1979 from Stanford University. Upon returning to Maine, Cindy met and married the love of her life, Timothy M. O’Neil. They settled in South Portland and spent every summer on their “Golden Pond,” Damariscotta Lake. Over 35 years, they built a life and a partnership of laughter, understanding and unwavering support for each other’s joy — and the joy of those they loved.
Professionally, Cindy applied her education and generous spirit as a high school and middle school French, Spanish and English teacher. She taught in East Corinth, Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth. She accompanied several Cape Elizabeth High School French classes on the annual spring break trip to France and taught English at a French high school in Brittany. After the birth of her beloved children, Hannah and Lucas, Cindy dedicated herself to being a full-time mother and continued to teach French at the Language Exchange and in her children’s classrooms.
Sparked by Hannah and Lucas’s theatrical interests – and tendencies – Cindy embarked on her second act: live performance. A role in the chorus of a local production of Guys and Dolls led to a 20-year run as a stalwart of the Southern Maine theater scene. Cindy thrived within the collaboration and community, finding an ideal outlet for her voice, her heart, her dancing and her grace.
In September 2017, Cindy was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer. Despite the challenges of treatment, Cindy continued on, hosting gatherings of friends and family, and quieting the fears and emboldening the hopes of those around her. And most importantly, she spent time at her favorite place: her dock in the sun at the camp on the lake.
Cindy lived with brilliance and beauty. To those lucky enough to know her, to see her perform, to be in her presence, she offered joy, silliness, comfort and belonging.
Cindy was predeceased by her father, Charles “Charlie” F. Marston; her sister in-law, Peggy Marston; and her nephew, Reggie Proctor.
She is survived by her mother, Elizabeth “Betty” Ann (O’Connor) of Scarborough; her husband, Timothy M. O’Neil of South Portland; her daughter, Hannah O’Neil and her husband George G. Lavigne of Scarborough; her son, Lucas O’Neil of Brooklyn, N.Y.; her sister, Ann and her husband Stephen Proctor of Bangor; her brother, Charles “Chuck” F. Marston of Portland; her sisters, Carla Dumas and her husband David of Littleton, Mass., and Molly Tremble and her husband Dan of Bangor; and her dear nieces and nephews, Kevin Proctor, Sean and Erin Mackintosh, Molly and Caroline Dumas, Corey and Nick Randall, Connor and Katie O’Neil, Ellie Marston, Olivia Schmidt and Arlo Proctor.
A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 8 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Newcastle, followed by burial at Highland Cemetery, Nobleboro. Attendees are invited to join the family afterwards for conversation and refreshments at Cindy’s favorite place on Damariscotta Lake. A celebration of Cindy’s life will be held 1 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 11 at the Portland Country Club, Falmouth.
A special thank you to those who supported Cindy throughout the challenges of the last two years, including her dear friends and family, Christopher Darus, M.D., and his team, Paige and the many incredible medical professionals she encountered on her journey. In lieu of gifts, donations in Cindy’s memory may be made to Lyric Music Theater in South Portland.
Condolences may be expressed online at hobbsfuneralhome.com.