by Kathy Lim Ko
Superintendent of the GGNRA since 1986, Brian O’Neill served as a tireless advocate for parks and open spaces. From childhood, he was a lover of the National Parks and dedicated his life to making parks accessible to all people. We will always remember Brian’s smiling face and well wishes as he joined us on Angel Island for the Grand Reopening of the Immigration Station on February 15, 2009. AIISF Board President Kathy Lim Ko offered this tribute to Brian O’Neill.
There have been a few key people whose vision, commitment, and leadership have brought about the restoration of the U.S. Immigration Station at Angel Island. Brian O’Neill is one of these champions. Even before the National Historic Landmark designation, he understood the national significance of the place and how it could contribute to the national dialogue on being an American, as well as to the richness of the place he loved so well, the San Francisco Bay Area. Brian was a role model, an advocate, a resource and especially a friend to our work in preserving Angel Island Immigration Station. We will miss his wisdom and guidance. We will miss the twinkle in his eyes when an inspired idea struck the discussion. We will miss our friend and colleague. Thank you Brian for all you did for Angel Island Immigration Station, the GGNRA, and for our community.