William James O'Connell

May 22, 1924 ~ December 28, 2020 (age 96)


William James O’Connell, 96, of Sun City West, Arizona, formerly of Toledo, Ohio and Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, passed away on Dec. 28, 2020.

Mr. O’Connell was born on May 22, 1924 in Ohio, a son of Daniel and Wilhelmina O’Connell.  He married Dorothy Lynch in Chicago, IL in 1950. They had three children:  Daniel, Janice, and Thomas.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; son, Daniel (Isabel) and grandsons, William and Antonio O’Connell; daughter, Janice (James) Marshall; and sister Mary Connolly and brother Daniel.  His son, Thomas; parents; brothers, Richard, Joseph, and Thomas; and sisters Dorothy Schneider and Joan O’Connell preceded him in death.

Mr. O'Connell attended elementary school and high school in Toledo, Ohio. He earned architecture degrees from The Catholic University of America (CUA) and the University of California at Berkeley. At CUA he played baseball and basketball, and in 1949 he was awarded the Harris Trophy for the "Outstanding Scholar, Gentleman, and Athlete of the Year." In 1985 he was inducted into the CUA Athletic Hall of Fame.

He served during World War Il in the Navy as Torpedo Officer on a destroyer. He was a registered architect in Illinois, Indiana, and California, and practiced his profession in Chicago and San Francisco from 1949 to 1959. In 1959 he joined the architecture faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he taught courses in design and building technology until his retirement in 1993. He wrote the book "Graphic Communications in Architecture." He served as a member of the State of Illinois Architect Examining Committee, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, and Peoria Diocese Commission on Art and Architecture. He enjoyed handball, golf, opera, and travel; and resulting friendships.

Professor Emeritus O’Connell moved with his wife, Dorothy, to Sun City West, Arizona in 1996.  He was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes/Prince of Peace Parish and a member of St. Vincent de Paul Society.  Most important, he revered his faith and family.  A funeral Mass is pending.

Memorials may be made to The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 19002 North 128th Avenue, Sun City West, Arizona 85375 or Hospice of the Valley.



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