JAZANIA H. O’NEAL
Born to Nora Elizabeth Midgett Herbert and John Edgar Herbert Sr. in Rodanthe, North Carolina (Hatteras Island) on Veteran’s Day, 1937, she has always brought light into any room and life to any gathering. Her mother was the eldest child of Jazania and John Allen Midgett Jr. famed leader of the celebrated Mirlo Rescue of 1918. Her parents passed on their devotion to family ties, their Outer Banks heritage, and their support and service of the U.S. Lifesaving Service and U.S. Coast Guard. Jazania, her sister Nora, and brother John Edgar, were raised in The John Allen Midgett Jr. home. They and his other grandchildren were all close and fun-loving. Jazania grew up singing in church and at festivals as urged by her mother in developing her strong soprano voice. Combined with her lively spirit, and often accompanied by her first cousin, Norma Gray Cahoon on piano, she has filled performances with impeccable perfection too often to count.
She attended Rodanthe Elementary School, Cape Hatteras High School, and graduated from Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia in 1955. She was married to Arval O’Neal of Rodanthe until his passing in 1998. They raised four children and established several businesses together. Like her parents and husband, there was never a time that she hasn’t been busy serving her community, working hard, or honoring God through her church. She served at length on The Dare County Board of Elections, Dare County Social Services Board, as Children Sunday School Teacher at Fair Haven UMC, in the United Methodist Women, and The Eastern Star. She continues to contribute as active choir member and leader; and remains President of Anchor Gull, Inc doing business as North Beach Campground and General Store.
She claims her greatest joy has been as homemaker, mother, and grandmother as she has filled a pivotal role in the lives of her children and grandchildren; and continues to be the matriarch of a now larger extended family.