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Gerald Leo O'Connell, M.D, 90, formerly of Leawood, Kan., passed away peacefully Feb. 10, 2018, at the Missouri Veteran's Home in Warrensburg, Mo. Visitation will be at 9 a.m. Feb. 17, 2018, and Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:30 a.m. at Cure of Ars Catholic Church, 9401 Mission Road, Leawood. Burial at Resurrection Cemetery in Lenexa, Kan., immediately following Mass.
Gerald was born Dec. 27, 1927, and was the son of Dr. Paul James and Mary Louise (Gangel) O'Connell. One of nine children, he attended grade school at Guardian Angels Parish in Kansas City, Mo., and later graduated from Bishop Lillis High School in 1946.
He attended the University of Kansas and graduated from its medical school in 1955. This was followed by an internship at St. Mary's Hospital in Kansas City. He practiced Family Medicine for 45 years and was a charter member of the American Board of Family Practice. Other professional memberships include the American Academy of Family Practice, the Kansas City Southwest Clinical Society, and the Kansas City Academy of Family Physicians. He served as St. Mary's Hospital Chief of Staff in 1982. He also was on staff at Baptist, Research, and St. Joseph hospitals, serving as chairman of the Department of Family Practice at St. Mary's (1967) and St. Joseph's (1979).
He started his practice in 1956 in Grandview, Mo. In 1963 he relocated his office to 79th and State Line Road in Prairie Village, Kan., where he practiced medicine adjacent to his brother Dr. Frank O'Connell for about 30 years. He was affiliated with Goppert Family Practice and St. Joseph Hospital in the years before his retirement in 2000.
Gerry was an avid golfer and long-time member of Hillcrest Country Club where he had a hole-in-one on #14. He loved playing cards and taking golf trips with his golfing buddies.
He is remembered for generously donating his time to the Cure of Ars parish by providing CYO physicals for student athletes during the 1960s and '70s.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Anna Lea; brothers Paul, Lawrence, John, Frank, and Charles O'Connell; and sisters Mary Alice Dolan, Louise Marx, and Anastasia Swift. He is survived by his four children: Linda (Steve) Judge, M.D. of Irving, Tx.; Nancy (John) Richards of Baldwin City, Kan.; Susan (Dave) Richardson of Lenexa; and Mike O'Connell of Prairie Village. He also is survived by his sister-in-law, Mary O'Connell of Austin, Tx., numerous nieces and nephews, and his 12 grandchildren: Nicholas, Ryan, Jeffrey, Alex, and Erin Judge; Cate, Anna, and Sam Richards; Elise and David Richardson, II; and Alec and Danny O'Connell. He also is survived by 5 great grandchildren: Cadence and Riley Judge; Meara Wilson; and James and Sean Judge.
The family would like to extend special thanks to: Rene Bollier, M.D.; the staff of Bickford Senior Living in Mission, Kan.; the staff of the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg; the staff of Crossroads Hospice; Larry Fitzgerald; Charlotte and Jim Humphrey; Anne O'Connell; Janet O'Connell; Rita and Tim Bowerman; Peggy and Jack Chilcoate; Laurie Coleman; Terri Maloney; and Marcy Kincaid for their assistance during Gerald's illness. Memorial contributions may be made to Bishop Miege High School or Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care.
Before every school term began, Gerry provided simple but profound advice to his children and grandchildren: "Listen and do." One of Gerry's favorite toasts was:
"May the road rise to meet you; May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warmly on your face, and may life let you sink a downhill, breaking three-foot birdie putt."
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