Wilfrid Bernard O’Neill, who has died three days after his 69th birthday, was born in Leeds and spent his early years in the Blackman Lane area, where he attended the local junior school.
He was handicapped by very poor eyesight and special arrangements had to be made in the classroom. He then attended the former St Michael’s Roman Catholic College, after which he took a first class degree in Classics at Leeds University.
He was on the staff of Hipperholme Grammar School, Halifax, for one year in 1968, then spent a further year at Leeds Grammar School. However, the greater part of his career was spent at Ossett Comprehensive School, where he taught Latin and Classics for over three decades.
In the 1990s he was made an MBE for promoting classics teaching in schools and was also granted the Papal Award for long service to the Catholic Church.
Though almost blind in his later years, he remained loyal to the promotion of education and also to St Wilfrid’s RC Church, Wortley, where he had been greatly involved since its inception in 1959.
He was a perfectionist – nothing but the best would do – and a regular attender at organ recitals in Leeds and Halifax Minsters and Leeds Town Hall.
A great lover of food and wine, he was a life member of the Campaign for Real Ale.