James H. O’Connell, 99, of North Haven, died January 1, 2013 at Southampton Hospital of pneumonia.
Mr. O’Connell, a native of Manhattan, first came to Sag Harbor with his late wife Veronica Margaret (nee Lynch) and young daughter Margaret for a family vacation in 1959. They later purchased a home in North Haven and moved here permanently in 1979, a year after his retirement from Met Life, where he had a 44 year career as an underwriter and in marketing.
Mr. O’Connell was the son of the late Daniel Joseph and Ellen Rose O’Connell, and the brother of the late Daniel Francis O’Connell. Mr. O’Connell was a gifted orator who had an extensive career in public speaking and community theater both in New York and eastern Long Island.
Locally in the 1980s he appeared in, among others, productions of “Harvey” with the Spindrift Players and “Ten Little Indians” with the Maidstone Regional Theatre Company.
He served as a lector at his parish, St. Andrew’s in Sag Harbor, into his early 90s. Mr. O’Connell was a 75-year member of the Knights of Columbus, having joined the order in 1937 in Manhattan, where he served as Grand Knight of Salve Regina Council twice, once in the 1940s and once in the 1970s. Mr. O’Connell also served the K of C as a District Deputy in Manhattan in the 1940s, and as the Chairman of the Lecturer’s Bureau for the State Chapter in the early 1960s. After relocating to Sag Harbor, he transferred his membership to the Sag Harbor Council, where he was active until his death.
In addition to his daughter, Margaret O’Connell of Forest Hills, he is survived by his daughter Marie Bonkowski and her husband John, his niece Dale Sartor of Norwalk, Connecticut, his nephews Daniel and Robert O’Connell, two grandnieces, four grandnephews, two great-grandnephews and one great-grandniece.
A wake was held at Yardley & Pino in Sag Harbor on January 6. A mass of Christian burial was celebrated on January 7 at St. Andrews. Memorial donations may be made to the Knights of Columbus Sag Harbor Council, P.O. Box 707, Sag Harbor, NY 11963 or St. Andrews Parish, 122 Division Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963.