Cameron O'Neill-Mullin, St. Paul's student, dies

Sophomore was an athlete and team captain who was recalled as 'wiser than her years'

  • Cameron O'Neill-Mullin
Cameron O'Neill-Mullin
April 11, 2011|By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

Friends recalled Cameron Leigh O'Neill-Mullin, a St. Paul's School for Girls sophomore, as a talented athlete on the soccer field and basketball court who was compassionate and humble in her dealings with competitors and teammates.

Cameron, 16, died April 5 in a boating accident in Goondiwindi, Queensland, Australia. A Lutherville resident, she had spent several weeks in Australia on an exchange program between St. Paul's School for Girls and St. Hilda's School.

"She was blessed with a reservoir of talents and was wiser than her years," said attorney Jana C. Burch, a family friend who lives in Ruxton. "She was unconditionally loving to her family and those around her. I can also see her at an Orioles game, scoring it as she watched and telling a loud spectator just who would get a hit — and when, too."

The O'Neill-Mullin family will receive friends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road, pending arrival of the remains. Her father, attorney Timothy L. Mullin Jr., said that a funeral service will be private. The family is planning a service to celebrate her life in early June.

"Cameron loved mixing it up in sports," her father said. "She was a leader, too. As a sophomore, she would invite a freshman to have lunch with her. She would reach out this way and used these relationships to build a better soccer team."

Born in Baltimore, she attended preschool at the Cedarcroft School, where she was awarded the Cedarcroft Cup "as the outstanding child in the school in work, play and manners." When the award was presented, Edith Gentry, the school's headmistress, said that Cameron "gave 100 percent of herself, all the time, not just Thursday and Friday, but every day."

She then enrolled at St. Paul's School, an elementary school in Brooklandville. Upon graduation, she received the Kinsolving-Hamilton Good Fellowship Award. It is given to the student who "best embodies the sentiments expressed in the school prayer by an attitude of giving, sharing, and laboring for the benefit of others without regard to personal reward or recognition." She was also Student Council secretary.

At her death, Cameron was an honor student at St. Paul's School for Girls. While in its middle school, she was Student Government Athletic Association representative.

She was elected captain of all of her middle-school sports teams and played varsity soccer and basketball her freshman year.

"She was intellectually curious and loved being a part of the team," said Stefanie Wainwright, a St. Paul's teacher, adviser and athletic trainer. "She played hard and always had a few extra bumps and bruises. She wanted to be in the mix."

As a sophomore, Cameron was a starter on the varsity soccer team. At the end of the season, she received an award for most improved player. She also played in the Lutherville Timonium Recreation Council, the Baltimore Soccer Club and Amateur Athletic Union basketball.

"I called her my field general," said Ruxton resident John H. Horine, a family friend and her former club soccer coach. "She was a soccer goalie for five years. She was smart. She could direct people without being bossy. She showed a lot of maturity. She was just an exceptional kid. She loved all sports and was a fantastic softball player, too."

Family members said music was also important to her. She sang in 7th Avenue, a St. Paul's a cappella group, and also played the guitar and piano.

"She was enormously proud to have attended nine concerts by Bruce Springsteen and five concerts by her favorite group, the Jonas Brothers," said her mother, Tricia D. O'Neill, an assistant vice president at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Her father said that Cameron was a "courageous traveler" and her decision to go to Australia for five weeks was due in part to her experiences with her family. She had traveled extensively throughout the United States, including Alaska, to sightsee, camp, backpack, raft, climb, ride horseback, boat and sail, fish and ski. In 2006, she drove cross-country with her father and sister. She had also been to England, Paris, Rome, Costa Rica and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

When she was 9 years old, her elder sister nominated her as one of "25 Beautiful Girls" in a teen publication, New Moon. When selected, the two sisters' photos appeared.

"It was a wonderful expression by an older sister whose younger sister was her best friend," her father said.

In addition to her parents, who live in Lutherville, survivors include a sister, Kylie B. O'Neill-Mullin, a freshman at Haverford College; her maternal grandmother, Jeanne M. O'Neill of Lansing, Mich.; and her paternal grandparents, Timothy L. Mullin and Joan L. Mullin of Ocean Pines.

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