Mary Anne O’Connell, R.N. of Milford, CT, formerly of Holyoke, MA, Norwalk & Bridgeport, CT and Bradenton, FL, wife of John ‘Jack’ O’Connell Sr., peacefully left us to join other angels on Saturday, March 18, 2023.
Mary Anne Jeraldine O’Connell was born on September 16, 1941 in Holyoke, MA to John and Mary (Falvey) McLean. After the deaths of both parents Mary Anne and her sister Peggy were raised by their Aunt Jane and Uncle Jeremiah Sullivan. Mary Anne attended Blessed Sacrament Grammar School and Holyoke Catholic High School, graduating in 1959. Following high school Mary Anne attended Providence Hospital School of Nursing earning a degree in 1962. Mary Anne’s caring and compassionate soul made a her a successful nurse in every place she worked, beginning her career in Florida. She continued her career in Connecticut, ultimately retiring from her role as a Public Health Nurse in the Bridgeport Public Schools.
Mary Anne was most dedicated to her family. She met her husband, Jack, in Kindergarten and they had their first date in 4th grade. Though they remained friends, their second official date wasn’t until 1963. They got engaged on what was technically their third date and they were married for 59 years. Through all of life’s ups and downs they sustained their love and dedication to each other. This relationship has been inspirational to many, especially their children.
After they got married Mary Anne and Jack lived in NYC and eventually settled in Norwalk, CT, moving to Bridgeport, CT in 1984. She and Jack moved to Laurel Beach in Milford, CT in 2005. This was referred to as the “O’Connell Family Compound” of which Mary Anne was the true matriarch hosting many holidays and special events there. She also cherished the time living near her oldest son allowed her to spend with her grandchildren. Her loving and sensible, encouraging words guided them, and were appreciated for being more Mary Anne-ish than grandmotherly. Especially when combined with her famous chocolate milk!
Mary Anne spent many years enjoying their home at Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, ME while her children were growing up. She and Jack enjoyed traveling together, especially to Isla Majeures, Mexico where often friends or one of her children would join them. One of Mary Anne’s most favorite trips was the family trip to Ireland where we all explored much of the country including Dingle where her family was from. Later in life she and Jack traveled south in their RV, finally enjoying winters at their home in Bradenton, FL. Later on in life Mary Anne and Jack could be found having lunch at the diner where Mary Anne enjoyed her daily grilled cheese sandwich and having dinner at local Milford restaurants on Saturday nights.
Mary Anne loved to have any reason to celebrate, the sun on her face, and a lobster dinner. She called shopping her therapy, and especially loved her girl’s trips to China Town with best friend and sister-in-law Mary Lou and daughter Margaret. She had a fabulous sense of humor and tremendous faith. She was a compassionate and loving wife, mother, grandmother (great!), aunt, mother-in-law, and friend. She handled her health struggles over the years with strength and grace. She never let her struggles stop her from dancing at family weddings and making memories with friends and family.
In addition to her parents, Mary Anne was predeceased by her son Matthew, sister Margaret “Peggy” McLean, and brother and sister-in-laws George E. and Joan O’Connell. Survivors include her husband John ‘Jack’ O’Connell, Sr., son John O’Connell, Jr. and wife Jennifer of Milford, daughter Margaret and wife Katherine of Norridgewock, ME, son George E. O’Connell and wife Lori of Stratford, Maria O’Connell of Flemington, NJ, grandchildren Alice Iavicoli and husband Nicolino, Lyddy O’Connell, Katie-John O’Connell, John (Jack) O’Connell III, and great grandchildren Giovanni and Ollie Iavicoli. In addition, special to her heart, sister-in-law Mary Lou O’Connell, cousin Fr. James Bowler, SJ, nephew George William O’Connell, wife Karen, and great nieces Julia and Audrey.
There are no words to describe the effect Mary Anne has had on all of our lives. She was brave and an inspiration to us all. She loved us all unconditionally. You are in our hearts forever, especially when we see the ‘sky blue pink’ of the sunset. The family would like to thank the Mary Wade Home in New Haven, CT for their care of Mary Anne and the family. Also, CT Hospice for the tender and compassionate care they provided. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to The Connecticut Hospice, 100 Double Beach Rd., Branford, CT 06405; www.hospice.com. Friends and family may call on Friday, March 31st from 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. in THE GREGORY F. DOYLE FUNERAL HOME, 291 Bridgeport Avenue, Milford. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 12:00 p.m. in Saint Gabriel Church, 26 Broadway, Milford. Interment will be held at a later date. To leave an online condolence, please visit, www.gregoryfdoylefuneralhome.com.
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