Charles Joseph O’Connell who served the United States through his 32-year career in the Air Force died peacefully Saturday, March 10, 2018, at his home in Acton, Massachusetts at the age of 93 years. He was formerly a longtime resident of Falmouth.
Charles was surrounded by those he loved first and foremost his wife of 38 years Eileen O’Connell. “Charlie” O’Connell was born June 13, 1924 in Lexington, Kentucky and moved to Anson, Texas when he was young. He and his brother Michael constantly found adventure and trouble growing up in and around Anson, Abilene and later in Corpus Christi. Charles decided to join the Army Air Corps around age 17 and entered WW II as a fighter pilot. He flew many missions while piloting various planes throughout the war. Charles flew in the Korean conflict and later in Vietnam flying many reconnaissance missions in his two favorite birds the F-101 ‘Voodoo’ and the F-4 ‘Phantom’. He rose to the rank of full colonel and served in the Alabama National Guard before retiring from the Air Force. Charles then went back to pursue his bachelor’s degree and graduated summa cum laude from Central Connecticut State University in 1979. He married the true love of his life in 1980 and went on to work at ACSI a defense contractor that specializes in communications and radar. The travel bug stuck with Charles after his service in the Air Force and he and Eileen got to see places around the world together including Israel and Europe. Though Charles’s main career was military service wherein he displayed intelligence, courage and valor which was recognized by his earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and several other distinctions you would never recognize this when meeting him. He was humble and spoke little of his accomplishments and dedication most often deflecting talk of his career and focusing on others. Charles gave openly to causes he was passionate about and loved good conversation, taking in all sides of different issues.
Charles is survived by his wife of 38 years Eileen O’Connell, son Michael O’Connell and wife Maria, daughters Judy Hovey and Kathy Saczawa, step-son Steven Schatzkin and wife Mary, step daughters Sharon and Laura Schatzkin, grandchildren Nicholas, Brian, Michael, J.R., Debbie, Elizabeth, Katherine, Ryan, Rachel and Jillian as well as five great grandchildren Ashley, Robert, Paige, Kevin, Bryce and two great-great grandchildren Cooper, Brinlyn. He was predeceased by his brother Michael.
“F-101 Voodoo- Charlie Juliet Oscar you are cleared for final approach.”
A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, March 14 at 11:30am, at Chapman, Cole & Gleason, 475 Main Street, Falmouth MA 02540, followed by burial at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Friends of Falmouth Dogs, PO Box 438, Falmouth MA 02541.