Brian Michael O’Connell was born on February 17, 1933 in Limerick City, Ireland. He was one of fourteen children to Daniel and Anne O’Connell. He worked in a grocery store in Limerick City before immigrating to New York City in 1954 with his late sister Nancy (Anne) Johnson by ship through Ellis Island. Upon arrival, they lived with an aunt and uncle in Brooklyn, NY.
In August 1959, he was drafted into the United States Army where he served overseas in Germany. He always recalled seeing Elvis Presley perform while stationed there at the same time. He was honorably discharged in October 1963 and relocated to the Bronx.
In 1968, Brian was introduced to the love of his life, Bridget (Breda) nee Conlon of Kiltimagh, County Mayo, Ireland. They were married on November 8, 1969 and were blessed with two daughters, Rosaleen and Sharon. Together, Brian and Breda shared over 53 beautiful years together. Brian never forgot his love for Ireland. As a family, they would travel yearly to spend time with the people they loved.
He worked as a bartender/maitre d’ in the New York Yacht Club for over 30 years. He then worked as a doorman at 911 Park Avenue until he retired in 2008.
Brian enjoyed watching sports including boxing, UFC, soccer, rugby, baseball, and his favorite team the New York Mets. He was overjoyed to hear that Ireland had swept the Six Nations prior to his passing.
Brian loved walking his beloved dog Prince. He also frequented diners, McDonalds, among other establishments with Timmy Murphy and the friends they made along the way.
Everyone who knew Brian would describe him as a true gentleman: always kind, compassionate, and respectful. He was also known for his sense of humor and bright personality. He was always someone you could have a laugh with.
Brian is survived by his wife Breda, daughters Rosaleen (Brendan) Burke and Sharon (Declan) Brennan. He was “Papa” to his grandchildren Kayla Hannon, Emma Brennan, Owen Burke, Brian Brennan, and Grace Brennan. He is also survived by siblings Michael, Joseph, Terence (Nessa), Moira (Donal), and Geraldine (Pat), and many loving in-laws, nieces, nephews, and other family members. He was an inspiration to all of his family and those who survive him.
A celebration of Brian’s life will be held on Wednesday, March 22nd, 4-8 PM at the Frech-McKnight Funeral Home, 161 Washington Avenue, Dumont. Funeral Mass Thursday, March 23rd, 9:30 AM at St. Mary’s R.C. Church, Dumont. He will be laid to rest at Maryrest Cemetery, Mahwah, NJ.