Paul Richard O’Connell, of Winter Park, Florida, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 11, 2022, surrounded by family. He was born on July 25, 1929 to the late Joseph F. and Ella (Blankenship) O’Connell in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Paul grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana where he had a happy childhood alongside his older brother, Joe. His love of sports, competitive spirit, and exceptional work ethic shaped him and remained important his entire life. He attended Cathedral High School where he became captain of both the basketball and baseball teams. After graduating, he attended Butler University to study business, on a full baseball scholarship. His former coach, Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle, later named him as one of the five best baseball players in Hinkle’s fifty-year coaching tenure at Butler University. Following college, Paul served in the Army as a radio operator during the Korean War. After the war, he married Joan (Jordan) O’Connell; together they had two daughters, Mary Ann and Janice.
Paul had a successful business career with RCA Corporation and later Zenith Electronics. The same leadership and work ethic that he applied in sports led him to become a valuable asset in the professional realm. His employment allowed him to travel the world, where he built relationships with people across the U.S., the Far East, and in South America. He eventually became Zenith’s Director of Purchasing and held the position until retiring.
Paul lived life to the fullest and never stopped finding ways to apply his competitive spirit, even after retiring. A long-time resident of Vero Beach, Florida, he was frequently found on the tennis court or golf course, aiming to crush every opponent who dared face him. Paul loved his daughters dearly and adored his grandchildren. He made sure each of his grandchildren understood the art of quality sarcasm; after all, this aspect of his legacy would live on through them. He was a proud Great-Gramps (his self-chosen title) to two great-grandchildren. Paul was a parishioner of Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park, Florida. His strong Catholic faith was lived out through his kindness and generosity to others.
Each person who met and knew Paul experienced the gifts of humor, good times, and conversation. It was a joy to know and be known by Paul. He was a committed friend to many, ensuring those in his life knew through word and action that he cared for them. The loss of his presence will be deeply felt.
Paul is survived by Joan O’Connell, Mary Ann (John) Cherry, and Janice Wheeler; eight grandchildren – Joseph, Emily, Michael (Victoria), Brian (Sarah), David, Hannah (Grant), Sarah, Seth; and also by two great-grandchildren. There are several nieces, nephews and extended family members that will miss him dearly. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Ella O’Connell; brother, Joseph (the late Rita) O’Connell; and nephew, Michael O’Connell.