James L. O’Connell “Big Jim” , “Okie”, 81, of Colchester, beloved husband of Eva (Tapar) O’Connell passed away on Friday , July 2, 2021 surrounded by his loving family. Born January 19, 1940 in Hartford; he was the son of the late Arthur and Margaret (Plummer) O’Connell. Jim resided in Newington, East Hartford, and Colchester. He was a graduate of Newington Senior High school, class of 1958. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy Reserves from 1957 through 1963, including two years of active duty. Jim was a highly decorated member of the Hartford Fire Department, serving for 31 years. He was a member of the Emerald Society, the Police and Firefighter’s Association, and the Firemen’s Benevolent Society. Jim was a devoted catholic his entire life, he served as head usher at the St. Andrew Church in Colchester and was a 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He was also a member of the St. Joseph’s Polish Society, American Legion Post # 54 of Colchester, and the Antique Veterans which renders military services for deceased veterans throughout Eastern Connecticut. Jim loved gardening, fishing, watching golf and Jeopardy. We will miss all of his stories and funny jokes. In addition to his loving wife, he is survived by his sons James O’Connell, and wife Kelly of Rocky Hill, Patrick O’Connell and wife Suzanne of Marlborough, and Arthur O’Connell and wife Joan-Marie of Andover; his sister Margaret Kleckner of Watertown, MA and a brother Arthur O'Connell and his wife Lyn of Virginia Beach, VA; his loving grandchildren Ashley and fiancé Jackie Grant, Jameson, Danielle, Bailey, Shaun, Michael, Gracie and Sofia O’Connell; and several nieces and nephews and many dear friends. In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by his sister Ruth Smichenko and brother-in-laws Peter Smichenko and Melvin Kleckner. The family will receive friends for visitation on Friday, July 9, 2021 at 10 AM directly at the St. Andrew Church, part of the Guardian Angels Parish, 128 Norwich Avenue, followed by a mass of Christian burial starting at 11 AM. Burial will follow at the new St. Andrew Cemetery on Gillette’s Lane in Colchester. James’ family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff of Hartford Hospital, who provided excellent compassionate care and love to James during his stay. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to the Antique Veterans, P.O. Box 54, Colchester, CT 06415. For online condolences, please visit www.auroramccarthyfuneralhome.com
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Antique Veterans (Colchester Veterans Honor Guard)
P.O. Box 54, Colchester CT 06415