John F. O'Connell

January 1, 2024

John O'Connell Obituary

John F. “Jack” O’Connell, 64, of Worcester, died Monday, January 1, 2024, at the UMass-Memorial Medical Center University Campus, after a brief illness. 

He leaves his wife of 41 years ,who was the love of his life, Nancy (Murphy) O’Connell; a son, James D. O’Connell and his fiancée Samantha J. Wright of Somerville; a daughter, Claire O’Connell Serrano and her husband Jonathan of Worcester; four grandchildren, Ryan, Alianna, Jonathan Jr. and Milani, all of Worcester; three sisters, Eileen C. Costello and her husband Martin, Elizabeth O’Connell Inman, Carolyn M. O’Connell; a brother, James W. O’Connell Jr. and his wife Eileen Higgins; and numerous nieces and nephews.  

Jack was born in Worcester, son of the late James W. and Eileen C. (Hackett) O’Connell, and lived in Worcester all his life. 

He attended Blessed Sacrament School, and graduated in 1977 from St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury and the College of the Holy Cross in 1981.

Jack’s vocation was writing. He found great success as a noir-suspense novelist, publishing five books, beginning with “Box Nine” for which Mysterious Press awarded him winner of The Mysterious Press Discovery Contest for best first novel in 1992. All of his novels were set in Quinsigamond, a fictional re-imagined Worcester that was home to the disenfranchised and marginalized. His stories were always original. He was a natural born story teller. 

From 1997 to 2008, Jack was editor of the Holy Cross Magazine, a quarterly publication for the College of the Holy Cross Community. 

Writing was his passion, second only to the love he had for his wife and family. 

During his life he learned to follow his own path, live authentically, and communicate to others the value of finding their own road. This man loved with all his heart, and was so loved in return.  He left us all too soon. 

Calling hours are Friday, January 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Athy Memorial Home, 111 Lancaster St., Worcester.   The funeral Mass will be Saturday, January 6, at 11 a.m. in Blessed Sacrament Church, 555 Pleasant St., Worcester.   The burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to St John’s Food for the Poor program,  44 Temple St, Worcester, MA 01604 or McAuley Nazareth Home for Boys in Leicester 77 Mulberry St., Leicester, MA 01524.

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Calling Hours
January 5, 2024

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Athy Memorial Home
111 Lancaster Street
Worcester, MA 01609

Funeral Mass
January 6, 2024

11:00 AM
Blessed Sacrament Church (Worcester)


St. John's Food for the Poor Program
44 Temple Street, Worcester MA 01604

McAuley Nazareth Home for Boys
77 Mulberry St., Leicester MA 01524


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