David O'Connell
2004 - 2021
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David O'Connell
August 11, 2004 - January 17, 2021
Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania - On Sunday the 17th, David Michael Gordon O'Connell lost his battle with depression and took his own life. David was a kind, loving young man that brought smiles to all who knew him. Dave had the courage to be his own person and stand up for others. He gave selflessly while volunteering for the Builder's Association of Central PA, State College Downtown Rotary, and other local charities.
As a Boy Scout with State College Troop 32, he loved the outdoors and mentoring young scouts. His natural leadership ability shown through to peers and adults alike. He embodied the Scout Law.
Dave fulfilled his lifelong dream of being a fire fighter when he joined the Port Matilda Volunteer Fire Company as a Jr. Fire Fighter. In 2020 he was awarded Rookie of the Year by the Company.
He was a wonderful son that made us so very proud. Dave cherished his relationship with his brothers, loved his cousins, and honored his aunt, uncles, and grandparents. His greatest joy was the time spent with his niece, Paislee. Dave "adopted" many families that he loved and touched during his brief time on Earth.
He is survived by parents, Don and Laurie, brothers Nick and Ben, sister-in-law Sierra, niece Paislee, great grandmothers Carolyn McLain and Loretta Jane Confer, grandma Edie Sicher, Aunts Crystal Nations and Sara and her husband Denny Shultz, cousins Hunter, Molly, Ian, and Hannah, and so many others too numerous to list. He was proceeded in death by grandparents Brenda and Gary Brown and David Sicher.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday January 30th from 1pm to 4pm at the Port Matilda Volunteer Fire Company. Family and friends are welcome to come and go as they please during that time.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you post on your social media about suicide awareness and mental health. Stigmatized issues that need brought to light and discussed so others may find the help they need.


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Centre Daily Times on Jan. 20, 2021.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
JAN
30
Memorial service
01:00 - 04:00 PM
Port Matilda Volunteer Fire Company
Memories & Condolences
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30 entries
January 30, 2021
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Kira Weaver
Friend
January 30, 2021
If I had to pick just one memory of david i just wouldnt be able to. Because I loved him as a brother and my favorite thing about him would be how he pushed me to by the person I am today to always do the best I can and not just at the fire hall. If he would not have walked in to me and my familys lifes I dont know where we would be. He was the favorite child at are house and no matter what he did he could all ways come to are house on the weekends cause we could never stay mad at him we all loves him very much and miss him every day
Emily Hartman
Sister
January 26, 2021
Sorry about your loss my heart is with you all.
Donna Mae VanBrunt
January 26, 2021
My condolences to your family we have it from here brother from VP G Catalano Factoryville Fire Company
Gerard Catalano
January 23, 2021
So heartbreaking.
Paula Raynar see
January 22, 2021
We were so sad to hear about the loss of this wonderful young man and share in your pain. We have a 10th grade student at the State College Area High School and will keep your family in our thoughts, meditations and prayers.

Schwartz-Singh Household
Sukh Singh
Acquaintance
January 21, 2021
I'll always remember David being at Baseball practice running around and having a wonderful time without a care in the world. We are truly sorry for your loss.

Diane, Bill, Shane and Joshua Gearhart
William Gearhart
Friend
January 21, 2021
i did not know david, but after being enlightened in regards to the situation i felt immediate remorse and sorrow for your family. please keep your head up and know that you will be in our prayers. “stay positive during times of doubt”
anonymous
Student
January 21, 2021
We also have a son at State College Area High School. Your Family is in our thoughts, meditations, and prayers. Please accept our deepest condolences on the loss of your beautiful son. The Murphy Family
Lois Murphy
January 20, 2021
Although I only knew him briefly, he was the sweetest boy. So loving towards animals and just kind and funny to everyone. You will be missed.
Melissa Benson
Friend
January 20, 2021
Laurie and Don,
I remember a little boy with lots of energy having a great time at youth wrestling practice many years ago. My heart breaks for you and your family. Hugs to all of you.
Georgiann Knight
Acquaintance
January 20, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Lois Thompson
Neighbor
January 20, 2021
David was always so nice to me and everyone he met. He was really funny and could make anyone laugh. He will be missed by all.
Lexi Mortensen
Acquaintance
January 20, 2021
Don and family so sorry to hear about your loss. My the good Lord wrap you in his arms and ease your pain.
Chrissy McGinley
Friend
January 20, 2021
So very sorry to hear. I know first hand the pain felt by family and friends. My prayers are with you all.
Cathleen Brown
Acquaintance
January 20, 2021
While working at the highschool. I often would cross paths with him during lunch. He would always be smiling and laughing with his friends. He never had a problem striking up a conversation about his day or hobbies. He will be missed by many. Thank you fellow firefighter brother for all you have done.
Fallecia
Acquaintance
January 20, 2021
From both Shawnee Twp Fire and Perry Twp Fire in Lima, Ohio, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and station. Rest easy. We've got it from here.
Rebecca Gardner
January 20, 2021
David was a kind soul. He cared deeply about others and loved to help anyone he could. I am blessed to have known him. Our hearts are broken and we miss his smile.
Ellen cannizzaro
Teacher
January 20, 2021
David was a kind soul. He cared deeply about others and loved to help anyone he could. I am blessed to have known him. Our hearts are broken and we miss his smile.
Ellen cannizzaro
Teacher
January 20, 2021
I met David last spring at the Home Expo show where he was volunteering. I was impressed that he choose to help out on a Friday night, but after speaking with him, it was apparent that he was truly a nice young man, eager to help and make a difference.
My heart breaks. Prayers for Don, Laurie, the entire family, and the fire fighters and many friends who support and love you.
Kendra Kielbasa
Acquaintance
January 20, 2021
DAVID WAS THE KINDNESS YOUNG MAN WOULD EVER MEET. HE WOULD HELP ANYONE IN NEED. I MET DAVID AT THE FIRE HALL LAST SUMMER WHAT A GREAT KID HE WAS. I WORKED WITH HIM IN THE KITCHEN AT THE FESTIVAL. HE WOULD GET THE FOOD READY FOR US HE WAS ON THE GO ALL THE TIME WE WILL MISS YOU DAVID RIP BUDDY.
gretch HAMER
Friend
January 20, 2021
My deepest sympathy for the tragic loss of such a wonderful young man. My thoughts and prayers are with Laurie and Don and all their family and loved ones.
Bridget Hall
January 20, 2021
I was David’s first grade teacher at Gray’s Woods Elementary School. David was a ray of sunshine everyday! He was a gentle soul...always sweet and kind! Prayers for his family!
Kimberly Bryan-Moore
Teacher
January 20, 2021
My deepest sympathies to David's family and friends. Praying that God will comfort you and give you strength.
Patti Higgins
January 20, 2021
David was a amazing person and a great best friend you could always depend on him and I know a lot of people have him in there hearts it’s a shame that he had to go but I hope heaven is treading him better and he is looking down on all of us❤
Jaylee Walk
Friend
January 20, 2021
Sincerest condolences, may God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Tanya Cerritos-Doll
Friend
January 20, 2021
Dave, you were like a little brother to me. I’ve always wished you nothing but the best and I always hoped you were okay.. I promise I will always tell Paislee how much you loved her and how amazing you were. I remember all the times we would talk, an somehow we would all cause trouble. But we joked about it at the end of the day..
Katie Derrick
Friend
January 19, 2021
I didn’t know David but he was a brother firefighter .. may he Rest In Peace and no more struggles just peace.. my heart goes out to his parents reading about David’s life he was loved and David loved helping others ... prayers go out to his family and brother n sister firefighter family . May David memory live on in each n everyone of you ..
Monica Smith
Clearfield Boro Fire Dept
Monica Smith
January 19, 2021
David was a kindhearted and loving young man. As a middle school student he won the hearts of the teachers and paraprofessionals who worked with him. Our hearts are broken. Condolences to his family and friends.
Pamela Moeng
Teacher
January 19, 2021
My heart goes out to all of you. David was such a nice young man and I don't believe I ever saw him without a smile on his face. A great loss to everyone who knew him. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Vicki Keller
Friend
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