Olean – Dr. Brian E. O’Connell, Sr. passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Monday (December 6th, 2021).
He was born on August 6th,1944 at the Mountain Clinic in Olean, NY. He was the son of the late Dermond and Bernice O’Connell of Bradford, Pa. On September 10th, 1966, in St. Bernards Catholic Church in Bradford, Pa, he married Carol L. Borsa, who survives.
Known as Dr. O throughout the community, Brian received his BA at Roberts Wesleyan as a two-sport scholarship athlete in basketball and soccer, MS Ed at Buffalo State, SDA, SAS and SDA at St. Bonaventure University and his Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) at SUNY Buffalo. Dr. O had an illustrious 40-year career in education. He worked for the Olean City School District for 36 years as a teacher, administrator and coach. He held building principal positions at Washington West Elementary, Ivers J. Elementary, and the Olean Middle School as well as being the Director of Community Schools for the district. He was an Adjunct Professor in the Education Department at SBU, was a supervisor for student teachers at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and part of the graduate school teaching practicum at SUNY Buffalo. He also authored numerous publications in the educational field and was the recipient of Good News Education Award presented by the Olean Area Chamber of Commerce.
Brian was very active in the Olean community. He was a founding member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish club in the city. He volunteered his time as a coach for Olean Little League, Olean Midget Football League and was a Gus Macker referee. He coached basketball at Jamestown Community College and football for the Olean City School District and was an IAABO basketball referee. Brian was also elected to the Cattaraugus County Legislature.
Brian loved the outdoors. He was a sportsman through and through. He was a lifelong hunter and fisherman. Some of his most cherished moments were spending time with his wife, sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the outdoors especially at the O’Connell Camp in Westline, PA. He had many adventures - to pursuing whitetails back East and chasing elk out West to flyfishing the Kinzua Creek in PA to flyfishing the flathead River in Montana. Above all he was a family man. His passion was spending time with his loved ones whether it be in the mountains, on the stream, in the gym, pool or field he clearly enjoyed watching his family grow all with his beloved wife Carol by his side.
In addition to his wife, Brian is survived by three sons; Brian Jr. (Rene’) O’Connell of Olean, Kevin O’Connell of West Seneca and Patrick (June) O’Connell of Olean; grandchildren Sean O’Connell, Kylie O’Connell, Brendan O’Connell, Maggie O’Connell, Logan O’Connell, Keenan O’Connell, and Makenna O’Connell; Great-grandchildren Kieran O’Connell, Callum O’Connell, Fiadh O’Connell, and Gianna O’Connell; a brother, James (Donna) O'Connell of West Falls. Brian is also survived by special friends Bunny and Carl Zandi, Loretta and Jim Bushey and Teri and Ron Orris who recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversaries along with Brian and Carol. The four couples grew up together in Bradford and all married in 1966.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions funeral services will be held for the immediate family only on Saturday (December 11, 2021) with a Catholic burial to follow in St. Bonaventure Cemetery, Allegany. A celebration of Brian’s life will be held by the family at a later date and time.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Guenther Funeral Home, Inc., 1303 E. State Street, Olean. If you would like to express a condolence or share a story about Brian, please visit www.guentherfh.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dr. Brian O’Connell, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund in c/o the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, 301 N. Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY 14760, or online at cattfoundation.org