Obituary: John Connell (calling hours Thurs. evening, ceremony Fri.)

Tue, 02/07/2012 - 7:57pm

John David Connell III, 48, passed away at home on February 6 with his mother, family and friends by his side after a courageous battle with cancer.

John was the devoted father of son Jack and daughter Celeste, and would often be seen with them in the park, on the ball field, or fishing at a nearby pond. A native of Swansea, Mass., he attended Swansea public schools and graduated from Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth, Mass. He was the son of Walda Murphy Connell of Little Compton and the late J. David Connell.

John arrived on Block Island 25 years ago having served several years in the 1980s aboard the FV Harry Glen, one of the last harpoon sword fishing boats out of New Bedford. He soon wove his way into the fabric of the island. During his early years here he took on many jobs, including as a carpenter, salesman and popular mixologist at the Manisses, BeacHead and Yellow Kittens. For the last 14 years he was employed by the Highway Department of the Town of New Shoreham, as well as working as a taxi driver in summer months. An avid sports enthusiast, he could recite statistics with the best of them — particularly if they involved his cherished Red Sox. He was a past president of the Block Island Lions Club.

He was the beloved brother of Katherine Connell of Fall River, D. Michael Connell and Luci Connell of West Peabody, Mass., Martin Connell of Pawtucket, and Matthew and Donna Connell of Cumberland. He leaves four nephews and three nieces, an uncle, Leonard Phelan, and an aunt, Dorothy Connell. In addition, he leaves his friend and former wife Jill Seppa, the mother of his children Jack and Celeste.

Calling hours will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, at St. Andrew Parish Center on Spring Street. A Mass of Christian Burial is to be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, at Saint Andrew Church on Chapel Street. Interment in the Island Cemetery will follow, and after that there will be a gathering to honor his life at the 1661 Inn.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Block Island Lions Club, which has established a special fund for the benefit of John's children called Daddy's Wishes, at PO Box 1812, Block Island RI 02807; or to the Mary D Fund at PO Box 323, Block Island RI 02807; would be appreciated.