Dearest God in heaven,


Give me the strength to guide my horse. 

Always let my breath catch as the sun gleams on an elegant head. 

Always may my throat tighten at the sound of a gentle nicker. 

Let the scent of fresh hay and a new bag of grain always be sweet to me, 

Let the touch of a warm nose on my hand always bring a smile.

I adore the joy of a warm day on the farm, The grace and splendor of a running horse. 

The thunder of its hooves makes my eyes burn and my heart soar, Let it always be so.

Dearest God, grant me patience,

For horses are harnessed wind and wind can be flighty. 

Let me not frighten or harm them, Instead show me ways to understand them.

Above all, dear God, fill my life with them.

I am not whole without them. 

When I pass from this world, send my soul to no heaven without them,

For this love you have given me graces my existence.

I shall cherish it and praise you for it for all time 


With heavy hearts we say goodbye to our beloved Mom, Grammy, and friend.  Cynthia O’Neil was born April 02, 1942 to Frank and Betty Latscha in Cincinnati, OH. She was married to Thomas O’Neil, they both grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and ventured to Friendship, Indiana. Together they had 7 children who they raised on their farm in the valley for 21 years until they separated. Mom became the greatest superhero our family will ever know. She stayed on the farm and raised us 7 children while keeping food on the table, horses in the pasture, and a roof over our head.

Just like the horses, our mother loved so much she carried her untamable free spirit throughout her life. She taught us to be strong, hardworking, and independent people. Our mother took pride in being a steward of the land that rolled through the valley of her farm. The graceful touch of her working hands helped flowers, gardens, animals, and children flourish under her care. Our mom drove a school bus for South Ripley over 25 years, was a Girl Scout leader, delivered fertilizer for Elrod Grain, shared her love of horses with others by giving riding lessons, ran and operated the Versailles State Park Saddle barn with her team of over 30 horses; with the majority being horses that she raised and trained on her farm with us kids. While our mom may have retired from her 9-5 in her 70’s, she truly never stopped working. Our moms love for horses will forever be memorialized through the Horse and Pony Barn at the Ripley County Fairgrounds where she was an instrumental advocate in having the Horse and Pony barn built. Mom loved attending the fair to watch her kids and grandkids share her passion for showing horses. Whether it was gardening, working with her horses, or attending grandchildren’s sporting events, she was always willing to guide us and teach us the right way to live. So many times we would ask, “How did you raise 7 children?” and mom would modestly answer “You just find a way”. In watching mom care for our children we finally understood that a mother’s love is the strongest love of all. Her passion and life long legacy is her farm, which will carry her spirit until we all meet again. 


Our childhoods are filled with memories of nighttime horse rides, fossil hunting, traveling to horse shows, singing songs, and baking Christmas cookies, but most importantly Mom taught us to live our lives like a team of work horses, what one cannot do alone you can accomplish anything with your team of 7. Our mom was tough when she needed to be but for the ones lucky enough to break down that barrier, she was the best friend a person could ever have. 


Moms final wishes were to go home to her farm.  When it became clear her mind and body had grown tired her family and friends jumped into action. Our mom handled her life’s burdens with the utmost grace, courage, and strength, and she pulled off one more O’Neil family hoorah when she brought us all together to bring her back to her farm. We took her down a familiar country road to the valley where she belonged. She was able to spend her last few days in her home, surrounded by her loved ones at her side. Our mom looked North up the valley and rested peacefully while listening to the flow of Caesar creek, the birds singing, and the horses grazing, while the sweet, fresh valley air blew in the French doors. Our mom was not alone, not even for a second during the two days of celebration, tears, and laughter before we finally turned the lights down, kept our tears at bay, and quieted our voices to let the full moon and fireflies light her way as we said, “Good night Mom” for the last time. 


Our Mom was the light of our life who loved us all unconditionally. Her legacy will be carried forward by her beloved children Antionette “Quig” (Doug) Diem, Tim “Buffy” (Cindy Tencick) O’Neil, Tammy “Bay” (Duane) Campbell, John (Teresa) O’Neil, Michael (Julie) O’Neil, Daisy (Leslie) Foreman, Samantha (Elias) Fuentes. Grandchildren Michaela, Darcie, Emily, Kelly, Evan, Max, Kyle, Dylan, Jessa, Makayla, Nicholas, and Alexandra. Great Grandchildren Sienna and Avery. 


While our mother is not the one holding the pen to write her story anymore, this is not her final chapter.  We write this to share her story with the community, and she has provided us with the paper and pen to continue her story. 


Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep,

I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the fireflies that glow.

I am the sunlight on a horse’s mane, I am the autumn's gentle rain,

When you awaken in the morning's hush, I am the swift uplifting rush.

Of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the soft stars that shine at night,

Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.


Cynthia's wishes were to be cremated and a celebration of her life will be held at a later date. Memorials may be given to the Friendship Fire Department or the Ripley County Humane Society in care of the Stratton-Karsteter Funeral Home in Versailles. 

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