Father William Arthur O'Connell, S.M., passed to eternity on October 1, 2012, at the Marianist Center, Cupertino, CA, at the age of 85. He was a vowed member of the Society of Mary (Marianists) for 66 years.
Born May 27, 1927, in Oakland, CA, to Lawrence G. and Marguerite McNamara O'Connell, he was the younger of their two sons. Baptized and confirmed in St. Margaret Mary Church in Oakland, he received his elementary school education in local parish schools. Following in the footsteps of his older brother he attended St. Joseph High School, Alameda, CA, and graduated in 1946. It was at St. Joseph High that he became acquainted with the Marianist Brothers and priests.
After graduation from high school he entered the Marianist novitiate at Beacon, NY, where he professed vows for the first time in August of 1947. In 1951, he professed perpetual vows as a Marianist in Santa Cruz, CA.
When Brother William completed the bachelor's degree at the University of Dayton in Ohio, he taught for several years at St. James Boys' Elementary School, San Francisco, and at Joseph High School, Alameda. Theological studies for the priesthood followed at the Marianist International Seminary, Fribourg, Switzerland, where he was ordained a priest in 1956.
Upon returning to California Father William completed a master's degree from the University of Portland in Oregon in 1963 while serving as a high school teacher and chaplain at Riordan in San Francisco, Serra in Gardena, CA, and Chaminade in West Hills, CA. The seasoned educator became high school principal at Riordan, San Francisco, and St. Louis, Honolulu, HI, and also had been pastor at St.
Anthony's Parish in Wailuku, Maui, HI. In later years he directed the Newman Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz, CA, and then served for many years as the superior of his religious community at Marianist Hall in Honolulu. Retirement brought him to Villa St. Joseph and the Marianist Center in Cupertino in 2006.
Father William O'Connell is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Lawrence and Fern O'Connell of Moraga, CA, and their children and grandchildren.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the Chapel of the Marianist Martyrs, Marianist Center, Cupertino, 10:00 a.m., October 11. Interment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Cupertino.
Donations to his memorial scholarship fund may be made to: Cupertino Marianist Community, 22683 Alcalde Road, Cupertino, CA 95014-3903.