Obituary of Andrew Anthony O'Connell
Andrew A. O’Connell, age 79, of Herndon, VA, passed away on May 25, 2020 after a lengthy illness. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he was the son of the late Andrew and Leta O’Connell, both Irish immigrants. He was predeceased by his sisters Mary (James) Hayes, Josephine O’Connell and Catherine (David) Armstrong, and by his brother James (MaryAnn) O’Connell.
Andrew (Andy) will be missed by his loving wife of 55 years, Mary, and by their four sons: Terrence A. (Susan) O’Connell, Andrew A. O’Connell, Jonathan B. O’Connell and Christopher N. O’Connell. “Pop Pop” was the proud grandfather of Sean O’Connell, Lauren (Stephen) Weaver, Cecilia (Blake) Scott, Douglas O’Connell, Noelle O’Connell and Julia O’Connell. He is survived by his sister Dorothy (Richard) Rode, several sisters-in-law and brothers-in law, 46 nieces and nephews, and many grandnieces and grandnephews. Andy cherished many joy filled occasions with his children, grandchildren and his extended family.
Family was always primary for Andy. Second to his family was his love for sports and competition, most notably basketball in his younger years and golf after retirement. Andy was a high school all-New York City All-Star basketball player, prior to attending Niagara University on a basketball scholarship. He graduated from Niagara in 1963 with a Sociology degree with an emphasis in Criminology, preparing him for what would become an accomplished career in public service. In 1973 Andy was inducted into Niagara University’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
After three years in law enforcement in the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department and US Customs and Immigration Office, Andy began his career in the United States Secret Service as a Special Agent in the Buffalo Field Office working organized crime investigations and counterfeit cases. From 1972 to 1974 he served on the ‘Nixon Detail’ as part of the Presidential Protective Division in Washington, DC. He was assigned to the New Haven Field Office from 1974 to 1979, prior to his transfer to the New York Field Office as an Assistant Agent in Charge (ASAIC). In New York his positions spanned the Intelligence and Foreign Dignitary Divisions. In February 1985 Andy transferred to Headquarters in Washington to work in the Intelligence Division before becoming Special Agent In Charge (SAIC) of the Liaison Division in August of 1986. From there he transferred to the Inspection Division in May of 1992. His last position was Deputy Assistant to the Director in the Office of Liaison and Public Affairs. He retired from the Secret Service in January, 1998.
Although his work was all encompassing, he managed to find time to mentor new agents. Some considered Andy an “agent’s agent.” Andy was a friend to all and a mentor for many. He taught his agents that leadership was about relationships, and left a strong legacy for young agents to follow. Andy’s people skills made work enjoyable both for himself and for others. His sense of humor never wavered. Attending a meeting for another division when he was in Inspection, he knocked on the door with his badge saying, “Inspection Division. We’re here to help!” Somehow Andy lifted everyone’s spirits even in trying times.
Using basketball as an avenue to assist and mentor dozens of kids, Andy volunteered his time to coach boys’ teams for several years in local youth leagues. Having one son in the Marine Corps afforded Andy the opportunity to visit Marine Corps bases to attend his son’s changes of command, something which made him very proud. Andy was a diehard NY Giants fan. Phone calls from friends after a game, especially a close game, were always received with laughter or chagrin.
Retirement didn’t last very long for Andy. He took a position leading an investigative group in the Government Accounting Office (GAO). In the GAO Andy was able to expand his investigative talents to solve several major cases for Congress. He enjoyed tremendous success with these investigations, and once again made the process enjoyable. He performed his duties in GAO for eleven years before retiring from government service a second time.
What comes through in all his undertakings is a sense of determination which Andy seemed to possess innately. This sense was grounded in a strong faith life, as Andy was deeply religious and faithful to the end. He will be dearly missed by family and friends alike.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 10:30am at St. Veronica Catholic Church, 3460 Centreville Rd., Chantilly, VA. Viewing will begin at 9:30am at church. Interment will take place out of state.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in honor of Mr. Andrew O’Connell may be made to: https://www.capitalcaring.org/
Capitol Caring Health
3180 Fairview Park Dr.
Falls Church, VA 22042