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