Philip D. O'Connell III, 61, fundraiser

Philip D. O'Connell III
Philip D. O'Connell III
Posted: January 03, 2014

Philip D. O'Connell III, 61, of Lancaster, a former fund-raising official at Temple University and other Philadelphia-area colleges, died Dec. 19 at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut of organ failure caused by sepsis.

Mr. O'Connell was born in Boston and lived throughout the United States, with Philadelphia his longest place of residence, from the 1990s to 2012, according to family and friends.

"He introduced me to the finer things in life," one of Mr. O'Connell's four siblings, Ann Henne, said Monday. Henne said she still uses the Tiffany & Co. key ring that Mr. O'Connell gave her decades ago when she received her driver's license, she said.

"He was a lover of the arts," Henne said of Mr. O'Connell, the oldest of the siblings. "He loved his clothes. He dressed top-notch all the way."

Mr. O'Connell had 60 dress shirts in his wardrobe, which went hand in hand with his long career in academia and attending formal functions as a fund-raiser, Henne said.

Mr. O'Connell was the executive director of planned giving at Temple University from 2005 until about 2011, when he went into semiretirement, according to his family and friends. He previously worked in similar jobs at Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania.

"I'm going to miss him like crazy," said Lucy Millman, who was friends with Mr. O'Connell since their college days. "He had such insight into business and people. I've always said he knew me better than I knew myself."

In 1970, Mr. O'Connell graduated from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic High School. He then went to Washington and Jefferson College, graduating in 1974 with a degree in French.

He studied in France for one semester.

"He was very cultured," said a longtime friend and college classmate, Louise Ross. "He loved opera, symphony, and artwork."

Ross recalled a time when she went to a museum with Mr. O'Connell, and, she said, Mr. O'Connell explained the pieces to her as if he had sculpted them himself.

Mr. O'Connell moved from Philadelphia to Lancaster last year to enjoy country life near where some of his friends lived, according to Henne. She said his family relocated him to Rhode Island in November when he got sick.

In addition to his sister, Mr. O'Connell is survived by his father, Philip D.; three brothers and sisters; and nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 12 William St., Newport, R.I. A reception will follow at the Wyndham Bay Voyage Inn, 150 Conanicus Ave., Jamestown, R.I.

Donations may be made to Washington and Jefferson College, Attn: Development Office, 60 S. Lincoln St., Washington, Pa. 15301.

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