Joseph G. O’Connell
April 1, 2017
|Joseph G. O’Connell of Thornhurst, Pa., died Saturday, April 1 at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center Hospice.
Born Aug. 9, 1943 in New York City, N.Y., Joe was the son of the late Marian (nee Grab) and Maurice O’Connell and was the grandson of Anastasia and Joseph Grab. Joe was educated in New York and served in the Navy as a Chinese and Japanese communications specialist during the Vietnam War. After leaving the military, Joe graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. In the following years, Joe continued to utilize his Chinese and Japanese linguistic skills working for several Far East shipping companies in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Virginia.
In 1978, Joe answered a ministerial calling and moved to North Carolina to complete a Masters in Divinity with languages at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest. As an ordained Southern Baptist minister, Joe served in several parishes in New Jersey and Virginia. Retiring and moving to Pennsylvania, Joe continued his pastoral work and served as Thornhurst Fire Department chaplain. Joe also shared his love of languages as a Latin teacher at Notre Dame High School, East Stroudsburg and more recently as a substitute teacher at Holy Cross High School in Dunmore.
Joe is survived by four children, Maurice Ian O’Connell, of Seminole Fla.; Alana Johnson, of Beaufort, N.C.; Christopher O’Connell, of Raleigh, N.C.; and Kathleen O’Connell, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; his brother, John O’Connell, of Boothbay Harbor, Maine; and sister, Clare O’Connell, of Hopewell Junction, N.Y.; two grandchildren, Andre and Desiree; two nieces, a nephew, two grandnieces and two grandnephews; and numerous Grab family members here in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S.
A viewing will be held on:
In lieu of flowers, Joe has requested contributions to the either the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center Palliative Care/Hospice GFP-8090 (Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, Voluntary Service Office (01/10), 1111 East End Blvd, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711); or St. Jude Children’s Hospital (www.stjude.org/Donate).
Church services and interment will be held in July to coincide with the annual Grab reunion so that more family members will be able to attend his memorial.
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