Beverly J. O’Connell
August 3, 2017
Beverly J. O’Connell, lifetime resident of Mattydale, passed away peacefully at her home on August 3, 2017 at the age of 94 after a long illness. Beverly worked as a bookkeeper well into her 70’s, enjoyed camping and traveling the world.
She was predeceased by her loving husband, Daniel J. O’Connell and is survived by her son, Charles O’Connell (Cheryl) of Camillus; daughter, Kathy Colvin (Jim) of North Syracuse; three grandchildren, Chris O’Connell (Lisa Panek) of Mattydale, Cory Colvin (Missy) of Cicero and Stacy Colvin Miller (Ronnie) of Cicero. She also has 6 great-grandchildren, Cassidy, Riley, Abby, Morgan, Mason and Lincoln.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to Hospice of CNY or the charity of your choice.
A private memorial service was held for the family and close friends, with Beverly’s long-time friend and pastor, Marcia Wickert, presiding. We would like to share the words from this “celebration of Beverly’s life”, below:
Music: “I can only imagine”
We celebrate the life of Beverly Jane O’Connell-our mother, our grandmother, our “Gigi”, our friend and neighbor. For even as she is gone from our sight, she will always be in our hearts and minds, for Bev is now a part of us, just as much as our breathing.
For we know that in…
Dying, Christ destroyed our death.
Rising, Christ restored our life.
Christ will come again in glory.
As in baptism, Beverly put on Christ, so in Christ, may Beverly now be clothed in glory. Here and now dear friends, we are God’s children. What we shall be has not yet been revealed; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Those who have this hope purify themselves as Christ is pure.
Jesus told his disciples “I am resurrection, and I am life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die”. But centuries before Christ, the prophet Isaiah said these words “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be cleared. Then the lame will leap like the deer, and the tongue of the speechless will sing.”
It is those familiar words that give us hope and comfort in the face of grief and loss. As hard as it is to go on with our loved one gone, we remember the words of Paul when he said, “We know that if the tent (our body) that we live in on earth is torn down, that is when we die and leave this earthly body, we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.”
I think the explanation that Kathy gave to Mason a few days ago when he told her how he missed Gigi says it so well “You know, Mason, Gigi was blind, she could not see, and her hearing was very poor. But now in heaven, Gigi can see and hear, and she can run and jump with Poppie. She is laughing and while she misses us, she is with others that we love.” What a wonderful way to interpret the words of God for a child and for us as adults.
Beverly lived life to its fullest-and for many decades. She lived with many losses- the death of her sister Marsha as a child, the loss of two babies-Diane, and Donna in their infancy. Her long marriage to Dan that spanned 39 years until his death, and the passing of many friends was also a part of her journey. But, she never really let most of us know how much she had lost, for she was one of the most pleasant, fun loving persons I have ever known. She loved a good joke… a great story… and she had the ability to be able to laugh at herself.
Not so long ago, her great granddaughter Cassidy celebrated a very special birthday... that of sweet sixteen, and Gigi gathered up her strength and her walker and came to celebrate. She had lost a great deal of weight, and her clothes were a “little” large for her body, and as she was walking up the drive at Cory’s her body and her pants parted company. With great aplomb, she looked down at the pants on the ground, and she laughed! Maybe not the funniest of stories, but to be able to laugh in the face of embarrassment, is certainly a gift that many of us do not possess.
Beverly Brennan O’Connell was born, and raised, married and lived 95% of her life in Mattydale. A graduate, and class Valedictorian of her class at North Syracuse High School, she “passed” on a college scholarship to marry Daniel O’Connell in 1942. As an Army wife, she followed Dan across the country during his years of service living on the west coast primarily. It was there that the love of travel bit them both, and they did such things as celebrate Easter Sunrise at the Hollywood Bowl, feed the dolphins at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and drive their car through a giant sequoia tree in the redwood forests. Her role as an Army wife included transporting POW’s and working as an auto parts clerk. But she found her niche in life as a bookkeeper-something that she continued to do well into her 70th decade. Kathy said of her mother that Bev was the happiest when she had a checkbook to balance!
Traveling became a very important avocation for Bev, not just with Dan and the family, but with her lifelong friends Hilda Bates, Claire Cummings, and Aune Paytun. Visits to Australia, the Panama Canal, the Bahamas, Hawaii, England, France, and of course for every person of Irish heritage-Ireland! Like most folks who visit the Emerald Isle- she leaned back and kissed the Blarney Stone.
Speaking of Irish… there seems to be a family custom-initiated by Gigi- that on St. Patrick’s Day, you did not leave the house unless you were properly attired in Irish green-even down to elf like slippers.
She and Dan had four children, the two daughters who reside in heaven, and two who were here on earth. In 1947, a son, Charles arrived; and in 1957, a daughter Kathleen completed the family circle. That nuclear family extended to grands, and great grands that filled Bev’s heart with pride, and joy.
There were also a variety of pets-primarily dogs, large and small, pedigree dogs and rescue dogs, and there was a special one named Bruno. Bruno was Chuck’s dog, a German shepherd who loved to ride in the back seat of his truck. One time, when they were out and about, they stopped at a store, left Bruno in the back seat, and went to the store to shop. Suddenly, Chuck, and Bev noticed that Bruno was in the store with them-how could that be? Bruno did not like being left behind… and so, he decided to join them shopping-by removing the back window in such a way as only a large, and lonely dog can do.
But, life for Bev also meant doing for others… through activities at Calvary Methodist, Scout groups, actually almost anyone who was in need. Her generosity extended to many charitable organizations as well. Yes, she was a giver-not only of her time, but her financial resources and her talents.
One of the things we all know so well, is that as your life numbers increase, so do the various aches and pains, and limitations. For Bev, the loss of her sight was an incredibly difficult limitation to live with. To not be able to see her children-Chuck and his wife Cheryl, Kathy and Jim, the grandchildren-Cory, Stacy and Chris and the great grands-Cassidy, Riley, Abby, Morgan, Mason, and Lincoln- and her friends and her surroundings was horrific, but she endured it with grace.
People have been so willing to share stories of times with Bev-her grandson in law-Ronnie Miller, who as an internet ordained minister, gave Bev a blessing-and she responded with laughter… to the story of Matt Six and the caramelized “nuts”-a Beverly baked specialty that became a Christmas favorite; and not to be left out, the story from Cory and Missy’s wedding where Bev and I shared a hotel room-and she went around telling everyone that we had “slept together”.
There is the “button box” that at least two generations of children have loved to play with, and in; there is the never ending source of advice and wisdom from an octogenarian; the neatness orderly saver-a survivor of the Great Depression who could hardly bear to throw anything away, and more. There are more stories than time-but in the days and weeks ahead share those stories, enjoy the memories, and enjoy laughing again about that moment.
King Solomon, with all his wisdom gave us these words…
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to break down and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time of warm and a time of peace.
In the days and weeks ahead you may laugh, and cry almost simultaneously as you think of Gigi…. you may mourn, and you may dance thinking of her, but remember this… yes, the family matriarch is gone, and she will be greatly missed. You have been blessed to have had her as long as you did, yet she will always be with you, as close to you as your breath, for she is within you. She will be a true part of who you are.
Music: “The Wind Beneath my Wings”
Yes, Bev has her wings, and when she got those wings she passed the baton to all of you-use it well, use it with love, and remember who gave it to you.
Let us pray…
Gracious God, we thank you for one we love but see no more. You have shared with us Beverly, for before she was ours, she was yours. For all that Beverly has given us to make us what we are, for that of her which lives and grows in each of us, and for her life that in your love will never end, we give you thanks.
As now we offer Beverly back into your arms, we ask that you comfort us in our loneliness, strengthen us in our weakness, and give us the courage to face the future unafraid. Draw those of us who remain in this life closer to one another, make us faithful to serve one another and others, and give us to know that peace and joy which is eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Help us to live by these profound words…
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. AMEN
Music: “Amazing Grace”
The family wishes to thank all who provided comfort and words of encouragement during this difficult time. Mom… Gram… Gigi… we love and miss you so much. Until we meet again, rest is the arms of the Lord.
To share a memory of Beverly or leave a special message for the family, please click the Share Memories button above.