Updated: Brian O'Neill, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent, Dies Following Heart Surgery
Brian O'Neill, who had guided Golden Gate National Recreation Area as its superintendent since 1986, has passed away following complications from heart surgery. He was 67.
Superintendent O'Neill's fingerprints on Golden Gate date to before the national recreation area was established. He helped convince President Nixon that the area, much of which was a collection of U.S. Army posts, should be included in the National Park System. It was added in 1972.
Under his guidance, the Presidio was added to the NRA, Alcatraz Prison became a tourist destination, and Crissy Field was restored from wastelands into productive coastal habitat.
You can learn more about Superintendent O'Neill's achievements and work at this site.
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"Brian O'Neill was a passionate and dedicated advocate for our National Parks. He served as a magnificent steward of our beloved treasure the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. My colleagues in Congress and I are deeply saddened by his passing, and are grateful for the legacy of natural beauty and cultural heritage he has left for future generations to enjoy."
—Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
“Brian's efforts set the standard for developing partnerships not only in the National Park Service but with organizations throughout the nation. He had a broad reach, working internationally in this leadership capacity to bring parks, partners and community together.”
—Daniel Wenk, Acting Director, National Park Service
"Brian was an icon in the National Park Service, inspiring all of us to work with partners in new and visionary ways."
—Jonathan B. Jarvis, Regional Director, Pacific West Region
“Many people saw Brian as a Park Maker and the Golden Gate National Parks constitute his masterpiece. Everywhere you turn in this national park—Crissy Field, Alcatraz, Fort Baker, the Presidio, and more—we see his amazing handiwork. But he was much more than a park maker; he really was, at the core, a Community Builder.”
—Greg More, Executive Director, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
In celebration of Brian’s amazing and enduring legacy at the Golden Gate National Parks, a special fund has been established in his honor. This fund will sustain his incredible legacy in an enduring way by supporting park programs and projects that were special to Brian—and that speak to the value of these parks for future generations.
In lieu of flowers or other tributes, Brian’s family has asked that donations be directed to: The Brian O’Neill Parks Forever Fun, more information is provided at this site. (Click on Celebrate Brian’s Life with Your Memories)