WILKES-BARRE — Michael “DJ Mo” Onley was remembered Friday as a man loved and who would do everything he could for his family, friends and community.
Onley’s funeral service, attended by hundreds, was held at the Straub Kane Funeral Home on Park Avenue. His brother, Damien Jones, spoke on behalf of the family and introduced several speakers who all related how Onley had helped them, inspired them to be successful and to lead better lives.
Javar “Anxious MC” Josey, 30, of Queens, N.Y., said his friendship with Onley turned his life around.
“I was struggling and my life was going down the wrong path,” Josey said. “Mo saved my life. He made me a better man.”
Josey said when he arrived in Wilkes-Barre he had three shirts, two pairs of paints and he was homeless.
“Mo inspired me to get involved in music,” he said. “But I was struggling. When I got a house, I couldn’t pay my light bill and the lights were turned off. Mo gave me the money to pay the bill.”
Another local DJ artist, Chris Fields, 28, of Kingston and Brooklyn, N.Y., said he and many others are forever indebted to Onley for giving them opportunity and guidance.
“We have an obligation as a community to continue Mo’s mission,” Fields said.
Inside the funeral home people filed through to pay their last respects to Onley and to his family. There were tear-filled embraces and conversations about Onley and how he touched so many lives in a profound and lasting way.
Several speakers said Onley had no enemies, that everyone he knew loved and respected him.
Onley, 34, of Madison Street, Wilkes-Barre, was killed in the patio court area of Outsiders Bar just after midnight Sunday. City police have not made any arrests or disclosed any motive. An autopsy revealed Onley died from a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.
Jeff “Destro” Cashner was co-host with Onley on a show that aired on WCLH, the radio station at Wilkes University. Onley was a graduate of the university, having received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications.
“Nobody showed more love for the community and fellow artists like Mo did,” Cashner said. “He is a legend and let’s leave it at that. You weren’t an artist unless you came through DJ Mo.”
Cashner said Onley loved making people happy — making them feel better about themselves.
“Remember all of the positives,” he said. “Remember him for all he did for so many. He will live forever in our hearts.”
Onley’s fiance, Laura Hiraldo, gave an emotion-filled talk about her relationship with Onley and how much she has learned about him since his death. She thanked everyone for coming to the service and said she always knew he was well-liked and respected, but she had no idea how many lives he had touched.
“I think I love him 10 times as much now as before,” she said. “Thank you all for being here and telling me things I never knew.”
Andre Robertson and Darlene Duggins-Magdalinski have organized a walk/vigil in Onley’s memory for today.
The event, tentatively called Community Pride and Peace Rally, will start at 5 p.m. on Public Square. The walk will head down South Main Street to Outsiders Bar where Onley was gunned down. A vigil will follow with speakers projecting messages of hope.
A benefit concert also is being planned by one of Onley’s best friends, Bashir Wood, but the site and date have not yet been set. Wood said all proceeds from the benefit will go to help Onley’s family.
Josey said when Onley’s brother, Anthony, was killed by gunfire in North Carolina, he vowed that he would do “whatever Mo wanted” to avenge his brother’s death.
“He told me no; to let the law handle it and bring the responsible party to justice,” Josey said. “That was Mo. He was a positive role model for me and everybody who knew him.”