School Committee Member Brian O’Connell Dies at Age 70

by | Oct 18, 2019 | Headlines, News

WORCESTER – Brian O’Connell, the dean of the Worcester School Committee, died Friday morning. He was 70.

O’Connell, a Worcester native and graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, was first elected to the School Committee in 1983 and was seeking his 19th term on the board this year. His finished third in September’s preliminary election.

He was a graduate of Harvard Law and for the past two decades had worked as an administrator in several local school districts.

In a released statement, City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. said, “On behalf of the City of Worcester Administration, I extend my sincere condolences to Brian’s family and friends on his passing this morning. Brian was a dedicated public servant who served on the Worcester School Committee for more than 35 years. It was an honor for me to serve alongside Brian on the School Committee at the beginning of my career. His lifelong passion for education and commitment to our students, teachers and administrators will surely be missed.”

“Brian possessed a truly brilliant mind and dedicated his life and energies to education,” Mayor Joseph M. Petty said in a statement. Petty worked with O’Connell as Chair of the School Committee for the last four terms. 

“For those of us who were honored to serve with him, Brian was always prepared and polite, always thorough and thoughtful.

“Brian was not just a colleague, but a friend and his talents will be missed. I join all the residents of Worcester in mourning his passing.”

School Committee colleague Molly McCullough wrote, “Thank you Mayor Petty for a touching post. I also thank you, Superintendent Binienda and SC Member Biancheria for being there for him. Brian was a true gentleman and will be missed.”

Cara Berg Powers, a candidate for School Committee this year, tweeted: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of Worcester School Committee member Brian O’Connell. Brian gave over half his life to service of our city. Deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”


Former District 2 City Councilor Phil Palmeiri wrote of O’Connell, “A Gentleman ,a scholar and a friend to everyone !!!”

State Rep. Kimberly Ferguson (R.-Holden), wrote, “I am so sorry to read this news! I certainly have enjoyed many discussions with Brian over the years – he was a dedicated, talented, caring person and a strong advocate for Worcester! He will be greatly missed.”

City Council and mayoral candidate Bill Coleman wrote, “Always a class act, a mentor and a friend.”

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