In Memory of Our Friend Greg O’Neill

It is with a very heavy heart that I share news about the loss of Greg O’Neill, a beloved member of the GSA team for more than 20 years. He passed away September 5 at the age of 51 after a long illness.

GregCspan croppedHe joined the GSA staff in 1998 as a research associate and served in multiple roles related to research, policy, and practice in the field of gerontology. He had a passion for policy and went on to become director of GSA’s nonpartisan public policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society.

During his long tenure with the Society, Greg served as associate editor of GSA’s policy journal, Public Policy & Aging Report, and the go-to person for Capitol Hill staffers working on aging-related issues. Greg led many of GSA’s research projects including work in the civic engagement arena, social isolation, and senior entrepreneurship (about which he testified before the U.S. Senate). In addition, he was the founder of GSA’s Aging Means Business initiative, a communications venture spotlighting breakthrough ideas, innovations and strategies for the 50+ market.

This spring, we held a reception at GSA headquarters to honor Greg for his 20 years of service. We also ran an interview with Greg in Gerontology News to observe the occasion; I invite you to revisit this piece. (GSA policy advisor Brian Lindberg and I presented him with a framed copy at the reception.)

greginterview croppedGreg earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and biomedical ethics from the University of Toronto, and his PhD in sociology with a concentration in population studies from Duke University, where he studied with many GSA members. A lover of fine food and local adventures, Greg also was a founder of Greg’s List DC, a curated calendar of the best social events in the Washington, DC area.

We learned from his wife, Anita Hattiangadi, that a celebration of his life will be held at a later date and that in lieu of flowers individuals are asked to consider a donation in his honor to NIH/NIH Children’s Inn, the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University, the Alzheimer’s Association, or your favorite charity of choice.

The GSA team is in mourning. Members are invited to post messages in memory of Greg in a dedicated discussion on our GSA Connect forum. I know that many of you interacted with Greg closely during his career with GSA and that you, too, share in this loss. Please keep his wife and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Addendum: Greg's family has also prepared an obituary that appeared in The Washington Post.