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Betty's Story

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RIVERDALE: Mrs. Betty J. (Johnson) O’Connell, 87, of Riverdale, died due to complications from ALS Wednesday afternoon at the Addison Gilbert Hospital. She was the wife of the late John B. O’Connell, Jr. with whom she shared 56 years of marriage.

She was born in Gloucester June 7, 1928, daughter of the late Marjorie Mae (Black) Johnson and Harold Alfred Johnson. She grew up in Gloucester and was confirmed along with her future husband, at the Trinity Congregational Church, U.C.C. Mrs. O’Connell was educated in the Gloucester Public Schools and graduated in the Class of 1946. She went on to attend Lynn Burdette College. Shortly after graduation and the end of WW II she met her future husband at Cressy’s Beach. John used to fly his sea plane over the train as she returned to Gloucester from school, landing the plane in Gloucester Harbor and meet her at the train station. She married John in 1949 at Trinity Church.

She was employed in an office position at the Universal Coast Company for several years. She then worked as a secretary at Gorton's of Gloucester, and later worked as a Special Education Secretary to the Director of Special Education in Gloucester for 17 years before retiring to spend more time with her granddaughter.

In addition to her professional career, Mrs. O’Connell was devoted to her home and her family. She loved decorating her home, and loved fashion. She could recall every outfit she wore to every major event in her life. Mrs. O’Connell was a member of Trinity Congregational Church, U.C.C. on Middle Street in Gloucester. She served on various committees within the Church for many years.

Mrs. O’Connell is survived by a daughter, Joy P. O’Connell and her partner, Bosco Kwok; her loving granddaughter, Cara M. O’Connell. She was predeceased by her daughter, Holly Jean O’Connell. Betty is also survived by her sister-in-law, Marion Frost of Ipswich, special cousin-by-marriage, Janice Prince of Gloucester; her dear friends, Melvin and Ruth Olson, and many other relatives and friends.

Betty’s funeral services will be on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, in the Trinity Congregational Church, 70 Middle Street Gloucester at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Visiting hours will be in the Pike-Newhall Funeral Home, 61 Middle St., Gloucester on Monday evening from 4 to 7 p.m. Interment will be in Beechbrook Cemetery. Following Graveside Services a collation will be held in the Trinity Congregational Church. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to either Compassionate Care ALS, P.O. Box 1052 West Falmouth, MA, or the ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic (Checks made out to “MGH ALS FUND”) c/o of Shawn Fitzgibbons Massachusetts General Hospital Development Office, 124 Nashua St., Suite 540 Boston, MA 02114. For online condolences and register book please visit www.pikenewhall.com.
Gloucester Times
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