Pinky O'Neil
Ms. Virginia Senior America 1996

Honorary Senior America 2006
Ms. Virginia State Director 1997-2007

Pinky O'NeilBorn and raised in the Pennsylvania Dutch town of Lebanon, Pinky Fees O'Neil lived with a foster mother for 8 years of her young life. Here she learned values and persistence while embarking on her entrepreneurial cleverness at the ripe age of seven; she made pot holders and sold them off her back porch to folks strolling to the nearby market. When reunited with her birth mother as a tweenager, she learned to be frugal, to strive for self improvement and to pick dandelion greens and sell them to the neighbors; unbeknownst to her at the time, the discipline gained and revenue earned from these endeavors would be seed for her future college savings account.

Following a performance in a grade school play, a teacher remarked, "Pinky, I expect to see you on stage someday," which sparked an interest in show business. Her cheerleading career began in 8th grade which carried through high school, college and has been a silver thread throughout her life.

After being dumped by a high school boyfriend, Pinky decided to go to college. Fully aware that money was scarce, she worked a year at the state capitol in Harrisburg as a gopher by day and scooped frozen custard in Lebanon by night. Four years later East Stroudsburg State Teachers College awarded her a B.S. in Health & Physical Education, a husband and a teaching job. The classroom was Pinky's stage for the following four years.

Raising a family then became Pinky's focus. To supplement the family income and to keep fit, she taught an adult evening exercise class and created one woman shows "Skeletons in Your Closets" and "Mama was a Swinger," After her 3rd son was born, Pinky became a partner in a family campground business in the Poconos; this was a natural with her early business experience, recreation & fitness background and her love for the outdoors. Here she added marketing to her resume. She wrote a weekly camping column for the Port Jervis summer tabloid in exchange for a full page ad for the campground. Later, she syndicated the column and sold it to newspapers around Pennsylvania. Television became her next challenge as she provided bi-weekly camping tips for "Dialing for Dollars," a Philadelphia daily quiz show. Pinky then produced and hosted hour long camping shows for Philadelphia Public Television and other stations around the state.

The movie "Saturday Night Fever" and a divorce launched Pinky into her dancing career. She became a social director and began teaching line dancing. Pinky blossomed when she landed a hostess position on Sitmar's Fairsea Cruise Ship.

Relocation to Reston, VA, and a new husband, inspired her next business venture, "Pinky O'Neil Dance Productions." Eighteen weekly line dance classes, producing "Dancing Around with Pinky O'Neil" on cable TV, hosting dance parties and dance cruises kept her stepping for 20 years in the Metro Washington area. After being encouraged to enter the Ms. Virginia Senior America Pageant, she won the title in 1996. The next year Pinky was appointed the MVSA State Director and continued in that role for 10 years. In 2000, she produced and hosted a Ms. Senior America Showcase for the White House. To add versatility to her performances, Pinky signed up for group vocal lessons and continues to attend classes regularly.

Pinky O'Neil, Honoray Senior AmericaIn 1997, Pinky was a Mature Media National Awards winner. She was awarded the title, Honorary Senior America in 2006 for outstanding service with Ms. Senior America, the national non profit organization. She has received commendations from the Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly, the former lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and citations from numerous organizations for her leadership working with seniors.

Pinky and her granddaughtersPinky is presently the MSA National Director of Development and Public Relations, on the MVSA board of directors and a member of the East Stroudsburg University Alumni Board. She hosts MSA Showcases, is a motivational speaker, and an entertainer, living out her Show Biz fantasy. She also trains aspiring line dancers to become instructors. Pinky continues to thread her cheerleading spirit to her family of 3 sons, 1 stepdaughter and 7 grandchildren; to Ms. Senior America; and to her alma mater, ESU, in which she co chaired "$50 Thousand for 50 Years" fundraiser for her 50th class reunion. Pinky is currently chairing an ESU Alumni Outreach program across the USA and is systematizing MSA to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2010.

Pinky O'Neil is dedicated to cheering for her passions and is grateful for pot holders and dandelions helping to teach her the facts of life!