Timothy James O’Connell, a Falls Church City resident since 1999, passed away on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at his home.
Timothy was born on February 4, 1940, in New York City, to Valentine and Lora Haynes O’Connell. His father was an engineer, and his mother a high school Latin teacher. The second eldest of eight siblings, he grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. He graduated from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in 1958, and entered Immaculate Conception Seminary, where he received two master’s degrees, in classical languages and theology. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on May 28, 1966, and took office at St. Joseph’s of the Palisades Church in West New York, New Jersey.
In the early ‘70s, Timothy earned a third master’s degree, in psychology, at the University of Maryland-College Park. After beginning a Ph.D. candidacy there, he was introduced to a newly established school of meditation and spirituality, the Arica School, led by the Bolivian mystic, Oscar Ichazo. He was inspired by the Arica teachings and methods, and decided to leave the Ph.D. program to immerse himself as an Arica student and teacher, which he remained for the rest of his life.
In 1982, Timothy married Kathleen McEvoy Branaman, and their first child, Kirsten Joy, was born in 1983, followed by their son, Liam Gabriel, in 1995. Fatherhood brought him immense joy, and he was a passionately loving and involved father to Kirsten and Liam, as well as Kathleen’s son from a previous marriage, James Theodore. Timothy and Kathleen divorced in 2006, but maintained a cooperative and caring friendship.
Timothy devoted his life to the service of others – as priest, Arica teacher, social worker, counselor and wedding officiant. After moving to Falls Church in 1999, he worked as the clinic aide for many years at Mt. Daniel Elementary School, where he was a charismatic and beloved figure – with his colorful pants, funny hats and puppets – always ready to entertain, share a laugh and soothe a tear. Upon retiring from Mt. Daniel, he went on to develop a thriving business as a wedding celebrant, and continued to officiate at weddings up until the weekend prior to his death.
He was predeceased by his parents and his sister Mary. He is survived by his life partner and love, Frances Anne Seay; children, James Branaman, Kirsten O’Connell and Liam O’Connell; grandson, Corin James Gregory; siblings, Paul O’Connell, Kathleen O’Connell (Kenneth Peterson), Dennis O’Connell (Kim), Kevin O’Connell, Ellen Toot (John) and Joan Hathaway (Kenneth); nieces, Lesley, Erin, Gretchen, Carolyn, Meredith and Caitlin; nephews, Alister, Matthew and Michael; and six grand-nieces.
A memorial service was held on Sunday, March 15, at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna. Timothy’s family wishes to express their gratitude for the love and support of all who attended from the Falls Church community. Donations in Timothy’s name may be made to the Arica School at http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.ACCT73001/sc.69/.f.