ONEONTA – Deacon Thomas P. O’Connell, 84, who served at churches in Oneonta and Cooperstown, died Jan 4, 2020 at Bassett Hospital, in Cooperstown.
He was born on December 23, 1935 in Astoria, the son of Michael and Lillian (West) O’Connell.
After graduating from St. John’s University 1960, and Siena College (Masters) 1963, he taught at Christian Brothers Academy (1960-1963), Wappingers Central School (1963-1970), and SUNY Delhi (1970-1995). At Delhi he taught English and Philosophy and in 1977 received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. From 1996-2000 he taught Theology and was the department chair at Bishop McGuinness High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. He also served on the Board of Education for the Delaware Academy Central School District.
In 1976 he was ordained a Catholic deacon in the Albany diocese. He served as deacon at St. Peter’s Church (Delhi), St. Mary’s (Oneonta & Cooperstown), and St. Leo’s (Winston-Salem). He also preached or lectured at various other area churches.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Katherine (Schuller) O’Connell; their four children, Eileen (Paul) Keating of Ithaca, Gregory (Vicky) O’Connell of Delhi, Kristen (Tom) Ford of Ithaca , and John (Michelle) O’Connell of Wallingford, CT; eleven grandchildren; 14 great grandchildren; a brother Michael; a sister-in-law, Eileen Walker; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his sister Kathleen; and his brother Patrick.
Born and raised in “The Big Apple”, he nevertheless truly enjoyed his “Thoreau Experience” living close to nature in his beloved hills of Delaware County.
Friends are invited to greet the family from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand Street, Oneonta.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated on 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at St. Mary’s Church, 39 Walnut Street, Oneonta, with Rev. David Mickiewicz officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Delaware County Senior Meals Program, 97 Main St. Suite 2, Delhi, NY 13753.
To offer condolences to the family, please visit: www.grummonsfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta.