Robert Lance O’Neal, 86, of Wake Forest, died Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 at his home. He was born in Wake County, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Roy O’Neal.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Ann Rey Burbank O’Neal; his sister, Margaret O’Neal and by his brother, Charles O’Neal.
O’Neal is survived by his sons, David O’Neal and wife, Jan, of Raleigh and Donald O’Neal and wife, Carolyn, of Charlottesville, VA; grandchildren, Justin O’Neal, Melanie O’Neal and Michael O’Neal.
Prior to graduating from NC State University in 1951, O’Neal attended high school in Rolesville and Raleigh. He worked for NASA from 1951 to 1988, except for active duty service in the US Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California from 1954 to 1956. While with NASA, he worked at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. He was involved with several projects, including Project Mercury, Project Apollo, Pioneer 10 and 11, and the Long Duration Exposure Facility, which was launched and retrieved by the space shuttle.
After retirement, he and Ann moved to Wake Forest where he was involved in many community projects, including volunteering at schools in North Carolina and Virginia to share his enthusiasm for space exploration.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Wake County, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, N.C. 27607-6372.
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