via O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home
Peter Joseph O’Connell 76, of Newport, Rhode Island passed away Thursday, September 16, 2021, after battling Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia.
Peter is survived by his wife Edna (Guilmette) O’Connell, sister Eileen (Ahern) O’Connell of Alexandria, VA, sons Michael Eamonn O’Connell (Jeffrey) of Cleveland, OH, Ryan Fitzgerald O’Connell (Rachel) of Brooklyn, NY, and granddaughter Macon Guilmette O’Connell.
He was predeceased by his sister, Kathleen O’Connell, and his brother-in-law Capt. Timothy M. Ahern, USN (Ret.).
Peter was born in Newport to Francis “Pete” O’Connell and Catherine (Fitzgerald) O’Connell on July 5,1945. He was a lifelong Fifth Warder and proud member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He attended St Augustin’s School and graduated from De La Salle Academy. Peter enrolled at the University of Rhode Island and matriculated in 1966 with a BS in Business. Following graduation he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, and as a 1st Lieutenant, served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam. Upon his return, Peter received his teaching degree from Rhode Island College, married Edna, and was offered a position as an English teacher at Rogers High School, a position he held until 1996. During his time at Rogers High School, Peter was a dedicated teacher and coach. One highlight being his assistant coaching position on the 1985 State Championship Women’s Soft Ball Team, recently inducted into the Rogers High School Hall of Fame. Until his death Peter was honored to receive many letters from former students thanking him for being supportive, caring, inspiring and funny.
Peter was a loving and devoted father to his two sons, Ryan, and Michael. He became involved in whichever activities they were engaged in, serving as President of Gooseberry Beach and 5th Ward Little League along with being actively involved in the St. Augustin’s Parish. As his son’s interests expanded into athletics and music, he focused his love and support on their endeavors, enabling them to excel at their given pursuits. Following his retirement from teaching in 1996 Peter dedicated himself to his love of cooking, attending Johnson and Wales School of Culinary Arts. Peter’s culinary skills led him to a career as a private chef and continually surprised and delighted his family and friends on special occasions. Later in life, Peter travelled extensively with Edna, served as Chairman of the Newport Zoning Board, honed his court tennis skills, and doted on his granddaughter, Gilly. He was a kind, generous man who will be missed.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held Monday, September 20 at St. Augustin’s Church, corner of Carroll & Harrison Avenue, Newport at 10:00 AM. Burial will be private.
Donations in Peter’s memory may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation www.parkinson.org.