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Timothy Lawrence O'Connell Jr.


1949 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Timothy Lawrence O'Connell Jr. Obituary
April 16, 1949 - July 4, 2017 Tim was born in Fort Worth, TX, to Timothy Lawrence O'Connell, Sr. and Clovis W. "Toby" O'Connell, née Carmichael. The family moved to California, and Tim attended public schools in the San Fernando Valley and Thousand Oaks. He attended Moorpark College, and received his Bachelor's degree in Geography and Economics from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he fully immersed himself in the Isla Vista scene of the sixties. Tim attended the Graduate Program in City Planning at San Diego State University, and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. Tim married, and raised two daughters in Santee, CA. He served San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor as her Director of Program Development for Growth and Development. Following O'Connor's term of office, Tim served as Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Housing Commission, providing policy support and was the primary liason with the Mayor and City Council. Tim moved to Los Angeles to take up a position with Century Housing, a not-for-profit Community Development Financial Institution supporting clients building affordable housing in underserved communities as their Senior Director, Policy and Advocacy, representing them at the Federal, State and local levels with elected representatives and administrative officials. Tim served on or headed numerous Boards of Directors, among them the Housing California Board, San Diego Housing Federation, Century Villages at Cabrillo, Los Angeles Business Council, and the California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies. He was elected to the Westchester Playa Neighborhood Council. A successful champion of the underdog, and the scourge of those who would abandon social justice, he owned a memorable laugh, booming and contagious, with which he charmed his friends and disarmed his foes. Tim was, in polite terms, loquacious; a verbal rambler and rover, a consummate raconteur with an insatiable curiosity, a near eidetic memory, and was the repository of vast general knowledge, random useless but fascinating information, limericks and lore. He had the entire history of city planning and affordable housing at his mental fingertips. A maven of legislation, policy and historical ephemera, he was a legend among his colleagues everywhere. Tim, a biblioholic disinterested in recovery, loved animated films, Molly Ivins, Foghorn Leghorn, the public library, female jazz singers, historical novels, spumoni, a good joke, Tullamore Dew, wine, women, and song - most notably Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan's songs, among others. Above all else, he loved his daughters. As any good son of the Irish diaspora, he paid his visit to the auld sod, where he partook of the craic and the crayture, which sounds to American ears like smoking crystal rock at a horror movie, but is not. An actual patriot, Tim died (he appreciated naming a thing bluntly and true), on July 4th, 2017 of a rare, aggressive form of ductile prostate cancer, over which he had maintained quality of life for a year. A proud liberal and avowed Atheist, he followed his mother's example in donating his body to the School of Medicine at UCLA. May the students do him proud as fine doctors one day. Predeceased by his parents, Tim is survived by his cherished daughters Elizabeth (James) White, and Margaret (Zach) Buitenhuys, his adored grandchildren Brendan, Zachary and Griffin White, and Matthew and Samantha Buitenhuys, his beloved sister Kathleen (Michael) McKelvy, his niece and nephew Christopher and Erin McKelvy, his former wife Sandra Woodhouse, an aunt, numerous cousins, and a host of grieving loved ones, friends, and colleagues. His family thanks his wonderful team of caregivers. There was nobody like Our Tim, and there never will be. Break the mold, drop the mic. He was his splendid Himself. His family makes the gentle suggestion that donations in his memory be directed to The Library Foundation of Los Angeles (www.lfla.org) or Oasis Community Center (www.centuryvillages.org).
Published in the Los Angeles Times from July 20 to July 23, 2017
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