Mary Hope Peel O' Connell, a lifelong resident of Pelham, passed away on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. She was a (youthful) 90 year old. Born in Manhattan to Frank and Leanora Peel, Mary was an only child. She was raised in Pelham where she attended Colonial Elementary School before graduating in the class of 1948 from Pelham Memorial High School. Mary was a go-getter and played field hockey while attending PMHS. After High School she furthered her education by attending Good Counsel College and would eventually graduate with her M.A. degree in English and Elementary Education in teaching from Hunter College.
Mary found her vocation at an early age. She worked as an elementary public school teacher for 26 years before continuing to pursue her burning desire to work with children: Mary founded Playful Wonders After-School Enrichment Program in 1986 and then opened Junior Wonders Nursery School, in Pelham, in 1992. Mary served as Director of both programs up until spring break of 2021.
Mary was the dedicated family matriarch. She met her husband, Thomas "Byron" O'Connell, on a blind date at a catholic social and would eventually marry at Our Lady of Perpetual of Help Church in 1956. The couple would raise their seven children in New Rochelle. Mary was a devout catholic and attended Mass daily at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. Mary taught CCD on Sundays for over 30 years at OLPH and directed the annual Christmas play. She had deep devotion to Our Lady and the Miraculous Medal.
Mary will be remembered as a great listener, very focused, optimistic and unstoppable. Undoubtedly she had a deep faith, was very religious and loved her large family, friends, and her many students & families.
Mary is survived by her children Mary Rose (Jordan) Glickstein, Tom O'Connell, Robert (Julia) O'Connell, Isabelle Lombardi, Hope O'Connell, Francis (Michelle) O'Connell and Anne (Tom) Mordasky. She will be missed by her 10 grandchildren; Matthew & Owen Glickstein, Alexandra O'Connell, Ronan & Jude O'Connell, Christoper Lombardi, William and Eri O'Connell and Ava & Riley Mordasky. She will be missed by her many students whom she loved and adored. Mary is predeceased by her husband Byron.
A celebration of Mary's life will take place at the Pelham Funeral Home located at 64 Lincoln Avenue, in Pelham New York on Thursday April 8th from 4-8PM. A Requiem Mass will take place at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church located at 575 Fowler Avenue in Pelham, New York, on Friday April 9th at 10:00 am. Interment will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. For more information or to leave a condolence please visit pelhamfuneral.com