Remembering Thomas O’Connell
Thomas P. O’Connell, affectionately known as Tucker, age 91 of Hudson, died peacefully Saturday March 2, 2019 at the Christian Community Home in Hudson. Tom was born January 7th, 1928 in Hudson, Wisconsin to Richard Joseph & Margaret (Grace) O’Connell. He grew up in Hudson and attended college at UW-River Falls as well as the University of Minnesota where he earned his degree in Mortuary Science. Following high school, he enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guards where he developed many lasting friendships. Always being an entrepreneur, Tom was a small business owner, as well as a successful paper goods and pharmaceutical sales rep. On Aug. 25, 1951, he was united in marriage to Janet Marie Smisek at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Hudson. This union would be blessed with four children; Thomas, Kathleen, Daniel, and Michael.
Following the tradition of his family, Tom started working for a funeral home in the Twin Cities – where he became quite proficient. He decided to set out on his own and in 1985 founded the new O’Connell Valley Funeral Home in Hudson – serving the St. Croix County area and beyond. He helped create success greater than he could have ever imagined by helping grieving families at their worst moment. It was the greatest reward for him to work side by side with his sons Dan and Mike. Tom had a gift, which was the ability to talk to others at their level.
Beyond his work at the funeral home, Tom was well known in the Hudson area for his active involvement in the community. He has been a member of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce, United Way – St. Croix Valley, Phipps Center for the Arts, the Hudson Community Foundation, the Wisconsin Regional Planning Committee, and St. Patrick’s Parish Council. Tom served many years on the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors, many of which as financial chairman. He also served an incredible 45 years on the Hudson Police and Fire Commission where the majority was spent as Commissioner. Finally, Tom has dedicated much of his recent life as an advocate against child predators through various organizations formed to protect children. Although Tom felt most comfortable at work, when he did get away, he enjoyed relaxing at the family cabin on Trade Lake, driving around in his 1929 Ford Model A Roadster, and spending time with his kids, grandkids, and great grandchildren.
For all that knew Tom, you could appreciate his infectious smile and demeanor, but his dry, witty humor usually left others shaking their head with laughter.
Tom will forever remain in the hearts of his children, Thomas (Carol) O’Connell of Cross Plains, Kathleen (Joyce Johnson) O’Connell of Inver Grove Heights, and Michael (Carla) O’Connell of Wilson; grandchildren, Megan (Adam) Crowson, Tim O’Connell, Colleen O’Connell, Kyle O’Connell, Kaitlyn O’Connell, Emma O’Connell, and Tess O’Connell; and great-grandchildren, Charlie and Lucy. And of course, we cannot forget his beloved dog, the chairman of the board, Pepe. A great union in heaven was made Saturday with his wife of 66 years Janet, his beloved son Danny, great grandson Braydon, his parents Richard Joseph & Margaret (Grace) O’Connell, step mother Erma, brother Donald, Robert (Ella), and sister Peggy (George) Schullo.
Mass of Christian Burial for Tom will be at 11:00 A.M. Thursday, March 7th at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Hudson. Burial will be at the St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery with his staff acting as casket bearers. A Visitation will be held Wednesday, March 6th from 3 P.M. to 7 P.M. at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, as well as one hour prior to the Mass at the church on Thursday. Memorials are preferred to the Dan O’Connell Peace Garden. The ultimate privilege was given to his son Mike and staff at O’Connell’s who he wished to coordinate his funeral celebration. Services have been entrusted to the O'Connell Family Funeral Home.