Obituary of Robert T. O'Connell
Robert T. O’Connell, 79, of West Pittston, passed away Saturday in Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
Born in Pittston, he was a son of the late Robert and Anne Sharkey O’Connell and was a graduate of the West Pittston High School Class of 1962. He was a member of St. John the Evangelist Church for many years in Pittston.
After High School Robert went to the University of Scranton where he received his Bachelor’s in Science and then a masters in psychology.
He was an educator and taught in schools in Pennsylvania and in New Jersey.
Robert’s true passion was music and everything about it. He was an esteemed and excellent musician. He played the piano, organ and keyboards.
Robert was also a mentor to so many musicians and friends giving advice in music and everyday life.
Robert played the keyboards for some of the top bands and toured the Country with them.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s he played groups such as the Leer Brothers, Mel Wynn and the Rhythm aces and they recorded a song called “stop sign” that is played and popular in Europe. During this time, he also played with Glass Prism and the group Bicycle and recorded a song called “Bicycle”.
In the 1980’s and the 1990’s he also played with the band Something Else, and went on tour with the Christopher Band. He also played with Top Shelf with Charlie Infantino and with Groove Unit where he first meets his wife, Sharon. He then went on to play for Paul Laballe and the Exact Change and then went to the Clarence Spady Blues band and with the band Souledout. He also played with a group called “The Bouys” and they recorded the song called Timothy at Septa records in New York City. Robert also loved recording in the studios. He also played with a long list of other bands too many to list.
In his younger days he lived in New York City chasing his music career and meet some pretty great people and became good friends with them. He friended Rob Ayers a famous vibes player, Dr. Lonnie Smith and many others. They would all hit the local clubs and enjoyed the night life in the Big Apple. He was also a member of the New Hope Church in Manhattan where he played the organ.
Anyone who knew Robert and drove Wyoming Avenue in West Pittston saw him out in the front yard with his wife and son Ian enjoying watching the people and visiting with people walking by. He also loved taking Ian and going on their milkshake runs to a few local establishments.
Robert is survived by his wife of 14 years the former Sharon Smith, Son Ian Michael O’Connell, West Pittston, step-daughter, Shaelon Smith, Brooklyn, New York, sister, Anne O’Connell-Ruggles, West Pittston, nephews who he spent a lot of time with David Ruggles and Peter Ruggles, great nieces and nephews, and several cousins and friends.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a visitation for Robert on Thursday July 20th, 2023 from 4pm until 7pm at the Howell-Lussi Funeral Home, Inc., 509 Wyoming Avenue, West Pittston. A service will begin at 7pm. At the Funeral Home. Interment will be private and held at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers may be made to Blue Chip Animal Farm Refuge at 974 Lockville Road, Dallas, Pa 18612 or to the Autism Society of America at 6110 Executive Blvd Suite 305 Rockville, Md. 20852 or at their website at https://autismsociety.org.
The family would also like to thank the staff at Allied skilled nursing and rehabilitation for the wonderful care they gave Robert. Also, they would like to thank Pam Specialty Hospital.
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