John D. "Pop" O'Connell, 93, of Niceville, Fla., passed away Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, in Miramar Beach, Fla.
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He was born on Nov. 24, 1917, in Stamford, Conn., a son of the late Cornelius P. O'Connell and Catherine J. McAuliffe O'Connell. John was of the Catholic faith, being a member of Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Church of Niceville. He and his wife were actually part of the Bishop's committee in the formation of the church. John was also a lifelong member of Knights of Columbus, having reached the fourth degree. He was a great storyteller, an avid gardener and well known for making his infamous apple pies. He also enjoyed being a member of the "Romeo Club" (Retired Old Men Eating Out). They would have lunch every Wednesday and enjoy themselves. John was also very proud of his Irish heritage and loved celebrating St. Patrick's Day.
John served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II, being involved in the first wave entering Berlin. He also went on the third Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., of which he was very proud.
He is survived by two daughters, Catherine (Buddy) Odom and Ellen O'Connell of Niceville; three grandchildren, John P. (Natasha) O'Connell of Pensacola, Fla., Jonathan W. (Laura) Hunt of Cumming, Ga., and Kathryn (Bryan) Rathke of Marietta, Ga.; and six great- grandchildren, Cecelia and Olivia O'Connell, Bella and Lexie Hunt, and Jonathan and Fletcher Rathke. He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Katherine C. O'Connell, in 2000; and his son, John D. O'Connell Jr. in 2001.
The funeral Mass will be held on Friday, Jan. 28, at 10 a.m. at Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Church. There will be a visitation prior to the service from 9 a.m. until service time. The interment will follow at Heritage Gardens with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Church Building Fund in John's name.
Arrangements are entrusted to Twin Cities Cremation Service and Funeral Home, 1405 John Sims Pkwy. East, Niceville. Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at www.twincitiescremationsfunerals.com
Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News on Jan. 27, 2011