Suzzanne H O'Connell
July 8, 1930 – July 1, 2018
Suzzanne H O’Connell
Suzzanne Helen Johnson was born on July 8, 1930, the second of five children to Elveda (nee Cafero) and Eugene Johnson. Her sisters were Pat (Bamford) and Beverly (Goldstein) and brothers were Eugene and Peter Johnson. She grew up primarily in Manhattan at 132 W 91st Street. In 1943 she had a part in the Broadway play “This Rock” (https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-production/this-rock-1273) with Billie Burke (the good witch Glenda of the Wizard of Oz movie). She attended High School at St Lawrence Academy graduating with honors in 1948, and attended one year of college before starting employment in an accounting office near Times Square. In 1949 she met Robert O’Connell of Network Rhode Island, then a cadet at West Point Military Academy, and in June of 1950 they were married. Together they followed the Army lifestyle, with many moves including those to Iowa, Virginia, Panama, Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, and Germany, while raising five children: Beverly, Robert Jr, Mark, Michael, and Mary. Suzzanne managed the family herself when Robert (sr) was assigned unaccompanied tours to Vietnam and Greece. Suzzanne and Robert retired from the Army life in 1972 to Virgina, living for the next 42 years on Hoover Lane in Alexandria while Robert pursued other careers. Robert died in Alexandria in Feb 2013 and Susan, then suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, moved into Sunrise Assisted Living for four years, and then to Mt Vernon Nursing Home, and finally to Capital Caring Hospice in Arlington where she died in July 2018. She is survived by her brother Peter, his wife Marissa, her sister Beverly and her family, many members of the extended Bamford family, many in-laws from other O’Connell families, many members of the extended Solecki Family, and by her five children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Suzzanne was a loving Mother and Wife who dedicated her life to the care and comfort of others. Her 63-year marriage to Robert was filled with wonderful moments of care and compassion, and is a model for others. Her devotion to Catholicism was inspirational, and her non-stop attention to her children ensured they would grow up feeling loved. She was a guiding force for 13 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Suzzanne spent her lifetime tending to the wants and needs of others, usually at the expense of her own. She would not smile unless you smiled – would not laugh unless you laughed – would not eat unless you ate – and would not sleep if she thought you were worried about something until she could somehow lighten your burden. If she could not directly lighten your burden, she would look for ways to carry it for you. While Suzzanne was a prolific talker, she was also a great listener. Everyone loved speaking to her! People felt 10-feet-tall after speaking with Suzzanne, because her singular attention to the speaker’s words energized the speaker, regardless of the merit of the spoken word. Suzzanne was a beautiful woman all of her life. She had both physical beauty as well as perhaps the more elusive personal beauty. It’s difficult to describe true beauty though, apart from its effect on other people. In gatherings at church, or in the neighborhood, at friends’ houses, or anywhere else for that matter, you could only marvel at the way Suzzanne’s arrival caused a rearrangement in the groupings of people, as individuals moved from wherever they were toward Suzzanne, until multiple people seemed to be competing for her attention. The Family knowns that from this day forward in Heaven, Suzanne’s every need is tended to, and she is no longer in the service of everyone else – she is now served by everyone else forever. We miss you every day Mom.
- Visitation Wednesday, October 17, 2018
- Graveside Service Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Suzzanne H O'Connell
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October 15, 2018
My Aunt Sue was a wonderful aunt. One of the most significant events in my life was spending time with her and I am a better person as a result. I was lucky to have been touched by her kindness and love . She always had a kind word for everyone and about everyone. Although we talked only intermittently over the course my adult life, when we did talk it was easy and comfortable. It was so easy to talk to her. Aunt Sue's strong faith is a permanent inspiration to me and will always be part of my life.