James E. O’Connell, 83, of Portsmouth, RI, died unexpectedly on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 with his wife by his side. He was the husband of Judith O’Connell. Father of Tracey Marino of Stratford, CT and grandfather of his beloved grandson, J.J. Marino.
Jim was born in New York City on December 31, 1933. He was the son of the late James O’Connell and the late Gladys V. (Sergerson) Rogers. He and his mother moved to Newport in his early years. He attended St. Joseph’s School and graduated from De La Salle, class of 1951. Upon graduation he joined the U.S Air Force and served during the Korean War as a decorated airman receiving the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster. After returning home as a disabled veteran he returned to school and graduated from U.R.I.
Jim had many professions, such as an English teacher, prison guard, ski instructor, restaurant and hotel manager and an Innkeeper with his wife in VT, NH, Cape Cod and Puerto Rico. After returning to Newport, he worked as a parking attendant for 12 years on Marlborough Street. As an avid fisherman from early childhood Jim’s greatest thrill of his life was when he caught a 55 lb. striped bass from the shore at Fort Adams.
Jim had many fond and funny memories growing up in Newport with his beloved cousins, Mary Frances Callahan and the late Pat McGowan.
Besides his wife and daughter he also leaves his step-daughter Carrie Unger, grandson Damon Chase both of NH, granddaughters Taylor and Danielle Unger of Newport and many nieces and nephews. Jim was the brother of the late Gladys Rogers.
Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017 from the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St., Newport from 2-4pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 at St. Lucy’s Church. 909 West Main Rd., Middletown at 9 am. Burial at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.
In lieu of flowers donation’s in Jim’s memory to the James L. Maher Center, 120 Hillside Ave., Newport, RI 02840.