Father William J. McConnell Pilot file photo
Father William J. McConnell Jr. passed to the Lord May 4 at Marian Manor in South Boston. He was 84 years old.
Born Dec. 27, 1928, in Adams, Mass., Father McConnell was one of three children of William J. and Pauline (Browne) McConnell. He was the brother of Paul B. McConnell of Florida and the late Rosemary Loughlin.
Father McConnell was a native of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in West Roxbury, and attended Boston Latin School and Roslindale High School before beginning his studies at St. John's Seminary. He was ordained by Archbishop Richard Cushing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sept. 29, 1953.
Following ordination, Father McConnell was assigned to St. Vincent Church in South Boston, where he also ministered to fishermen and sailors on the Boston waterfront (1953-1955); and St. Margaret Church in Brockton (1955-1959).
In April 1959, Father McConnell began a seven-year stint as a U.S. Navy chaplain with the Marine Corps, serving in California, Okinawa, Hawaii, Virginia and Vietnam.
His later assignments included: St. Rita Church, Lowell (1966-1969); St. George Church, Framingham (1969-1972); St. Nicholas Church, Abington (1972-1977); St. Helen Church, Norwell (1977-1978); chaplain at Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton (1972-1977); St. Andrew Church, North Billerica (1978-1985); St. Zepherin Church, Cochituate (1985-1986); St. Francis de Sales Church, Charlestown (1986-1994); and St. Margaret Church, Brockton (1994-1999).
On Aug. 31, 1999 he was granted senior priest/retirement status by Cardinal Bernard Law and was in residence at St. Francis de Sales Church, Charlestown.
Father McConnell is survived by his brother, Paul, and by his nieces and nephews W. Christopher Loughlin, Marcia Loughlin, Michael G. Loughlin, Cynthia T. Loughlin, Mark A. Loughlin, Scott R. McConnell and Michael P. McConnell.
His funeral Mass was held May 8 at St. Francis De Sales Church, Charlestown. Bishop Robert Hennessey was the principal celebrant and Father Daniel J. Mahoney served as the homilist. Designated concelebrants included Father William F. Lucey, Father Robert B. Costello, Father John L. Mansfield, Father Joseph K. Fagan, Father James B. Canniff, Father Paul G. McPartland, Father Patrick F. Healy, OMI.
Interment was at St. Joseph Cemetery in West Roxbury.