Peter J. Connell, 72, of Greenville, Rhode Island, passed away on October 12, 2012, after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a SABR member since 1998 and an active member of the Lajoie-Start Chapter in Southern New England.
He was married to the love of his life, Dorothy A. (Healey) Connell, for 46 years. Throughout the last 15 years, he and Dorothy traveled to three major league cities each summer to watch baseball and participate in SABR events at various locations. Besides his home in Greenville, McCoy Stadium — home of the Pawtucket Red Sox — was his favorite place to spend time. Just a month ago, Connell was well enough to attend Governor’s Cup Playoff games with his sons as the PawSox secured their first championship in 28 years.
Born in Providence, he was the only child of the late William A. & Margaret J. (McGovern) Connell. He graduated from LaSalle Academy in 1956 and Providence College in 1960. He performed graduate studies at Long Island University through 1962 and earned a Master‘s Degree in Rehabilitation from Assumption College in 1975.
Peter served his country proudly for six years in the Vietnam Era, while being on active duty with the Army Reserves.
He was the devoted father of William T. Connell and his wife, Karen, of North Smithfield; Colleen Kiernan of Greenville; and Peter S. Connell of Greenville. He was the doting grandfather of Nicole, Shawn, Meghan, Billy, & Kaleigh.
Peter was an employee of the State of Rhode Island for 31 years, retiring in 1990 as the Chief of Public Relations for the Department of Employment Security (now Labor & Training). He began his career as a social worker for the former Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. He worked briefly for the former Eastern Airlines upon retirement.
In 1991, he embarked on a second career as a sportswriter for the Observer Publication and subsequent Valley Breeze Newspapers. For 21 years, he was a fixture at high school sporting events in Burrillville, Glocester, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Scituate, and Smithfield covering the accomplishments of legions of superb student-athletes. He umpired softball and baseball throughout his adult life. Beginning with men’s softball leagues in Providence in the early 70’s, followed by Little League in Smithfield and beyond, he retired in 2011 after umpiring high school baseball for 20 years. He was a member of the Association of Baseball Umpires of Rhode Island.
A funeral Mass of Christian Burial was held Tuesday, October 16 at St. Philip Church in Greenville. Burial is in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to St. Philip Church Endowment Fund, 622 Putnam Pike, Greenville, RI 02828 or Home and Hospice Care of RI, 1085 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02904. For a complete obituary, messages of condolence and directions, visit andersonwinfield.net.
Originally published: October 16, 2012. Last Updated: October 16, 2012.