PATRICK JOHN "P.J." O'CONNELL 70, of Apache Junction, AZ and Durango, CO, formerly of State College, PA, died on March 27, 2006 after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle near his home in Arizona.

P.J. was born on a family farm in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, on April 23, 1935 to Joseph and Rita Rourke O'Connell. He graduated from Anthon High School in 1952 and received Bachelors in Journalism from Iowa State University in 1956 and a Masters/PhD from Penn State University in 1988. He served two years in the Army. He began his career at WCCO TV in Minneapolis, moved to WIIC and WQED in Pittsburgh, then finally to WPSX in State College, PA. There he produced over 100 documentary television programs focusing primarily on the American rural experience. He received the Peabody Award and later the Outstanding Local Production from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for his film, "Visiting With Darlene," At Penn State he was also an associate professor of Speech Communication.

P.J. paddled the rivers of Pennsylvania, climbed mountains in Colorado, camped his family across the country, backpacked and rock climbed. He and his wife motorcycled PA back roads. In retirement, they traveled in Australia, China and extensively in Europe. He had been planning to attend his 50th Reunion at the Anthon High School in summer 2006 along with the Rourke Family Reunion.

Preceded in death by his parents, P.J. is survived by his wife of 48 years, Carolyn Greiner O'Connell of Apache Junction, AZ and his brother Mike O'Connell of Kansas City and his sister Maggie O'Connell Nolte of Mantorville, MN.

PJ and Carolyn had six children: Kathleen O'Connell of State College, Ellen Wham of Mt. Home, Idaho, Michael O'Connell of Concord, CA, Dan O'Connell of Elkton, MD, Joseph O'Connell of Bridgewater, NJ and Shannon O'Connell of Pittsburgh, PA. He has three sons in law: Michael Goldfine, Ben Wham and Kevin Drobish, and two daughters in law: Trudi O'Connell and Tami O'Connell, in addition to seven grandchildren: Mat Schilling, Jennifer Wham, Kelson Goldfine, Elizabeth Wham, Christopher O'Connell, Jael Goldfine and Kaitlyn O'Connell.

In Durango, he was on the board of directors of the Aspen Trails Metropolitan District and Aspen Trails Water Co.

A memorial service was held at the Pueblo Manor Clubhouse in Apache Junction, AZ on Fri, March 31 at 2pm.

The picture above includes P.J.'s wife Carolyn, all six of their children and spouses, and seven grandchildren.

Middle row, left to right: Daughters Shannon, Kathleen, (wife Carolyn holding P.J.'s photo), Ellen.

Back row, left to right: Kevin Drobish, Michael Goldfine, son Joe O'Connell, Trudy O'Connell, son Mike O'Connell, Ben Wham, Tami O'Connell and son Dan O'Connell.

The grandchildren are in the front row.

P.J. would have approved of allowing the grandkids to swim in the pool at the site where the memorial was held; which they did.