February 6, 2013

Feature obituary: Steven Onos, 47, death a 'big loss' for community, schools

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND – A large turnout is expected Friday at Hobbs Funeral Home for a memorial service to honor Steven Onos, a well-known community leader who served six years on the South Portland School Board and was instrumental in the planning to renovate four elementary schools.

click image to enlarge

Steven Onos and his family

Family photo

PASSAGES

Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.

Mr. Onos died unexpectedly Sunday after suffering a major health event. He was 47.

He was a loving husband of Connie Onos, of South Portland, and a dedicated father to three children: Izaak Onos, 19, Abby Onos, 17, and Sydney Onos, 15. Abby is a senior at South Portland High School and Sydney Onos is a sophomore.

Mr. Onos was a familiar face at their school and athletic events. He enjoyed watching Sydney compete in track and field, and often ran the timer at Abby's swim meets.

"He was the best dad," his wife said. "He was totally into his kids. He just tried to be a part of whatever they were involved in. "

Mr. Onos was invested in the community. He was elected to the school board in 2001, then re-elected to a second three-year term in 2004. He served a stint as chair and was elected vice chair in 2007. He also chaired its educational policy committee and served on the master building committee. School officials said Tuesday that Onos played a key role in the successful renovation of four elementary schools.

"He was a strong supporter of South Portland children," said Superintendent Suzanne Godin. "I think he worked to hear all voices. Everyone had a voice in the decisions made. It's a huge loss to the community."

Mr. Onos attended South Portland High, where he met his wife-to-be. They were married on Sept. 30, 1989.

"He was my soulmate. He was the love of my life," his wife said Tuesday. "We had a great life. The most important thing to us was family. We enjoyed each other's company. We were best friends."

She opened up about their life together, recalling family vacations to the Dominican Republic, the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Costa Rica.

"He wanted the kids to see the world," she said.

Mr. Onos worked at financial institutions such as Key Bank, TD Bank and JP Morgan Chase Bank. More recently, he worked at Northeast Credit Union in Portsmouth, N.H. Last summer he was hired as vice president of lending at Town & Country Federal Credit Union in South Portland.

"It's a big loss," said David Libby, president and CEO of Town & Country. "He had a big personality. He fit in so perfectly so quickly. He was so excited about our plans for growing the credit union and getting involved in the community long term."

Mr. Onos had a passion for the ocean. In recent years, he began building watercrafts such as a rowing scull and a standup paddle board.

"If he had an idea, he just did it," his wife said. "He was always on the go, always doing something. He was very smart. He knew something about everything."

By all accounts, Mr. Onos was a strong and healthy guy, who took great care of himself. His wife said he pulled a muscle in his back on Sunday and took it easy that afternoon. As the family was getting ready to attend a Super Bowl party, he suffered a major health event and died. His wife said he may have suffered a massive heart attack or had a blood clot. An autopsy is pending.

His wife said she will miss his hugs, optimism and humor.

"It's a shock. It's just a shock. It's not anything we ever foresaw coming," she said.

 

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com

 

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