John J. O’Neill, Sr., 49, road maintenance man, saved Angelina DePole, 62, from drowning, Yonkers, New York, December 29, 1956. After dark Mrs. DePole fell from the Yonkers City Pier into water eight feet deep in the Hudson River. The accident was witnessed by O’Neill and another man, a poor swimmer, who left to summon aid. O’Neill, who had been advised by physicians to avoid exertion because of a cardiac condition, hurried 75 feet to a wall at the bank of the river and jumped fully clothed into the near-freezing water 14 feet below. ONeill swam 30 feet through choppy waves to Mrs. DePole, who still was conscious but was not attempting to swim. O’Neill was impeded by his heavy clothing and the weight of Mrs. DePole as he towed her 25 feet to a ladder suspended against the wall by others who had been attracted. As O’Neill held to the ladder and to Mrs. DePole, the rough water caused his head to strike the wall repeatedly; and ice formed on his face and clothing. A rope was lowered to O’Neill, but his hands were so cold he could not tie it to Mrs. DePole. A man who descended the ladder tied the rope around Mrs. DePole, who was lifted from the water by others. O’Neill was aided up the ladder. Mrs. DePole and O’Neill were treated for shock and exposure. O’Neill’s heart condition was aggravated temporarily. He was hospitalized a week and then recuperated at home for two months.69414-4127
John J. O'neill, Sr.