OLEAN, NY – Dr. Brian E. O’Connell Sr. passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Monday (December 6, 2021).
He was born on August 6, 1944 at the Mountain Clinic in Olean, NY. He was the son of the late Dermond and Bernice O’Connell of Bradford, Pennsylvania. On September 10, 1966, at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Bradford, Pa., He married Carol L. Borsa, who survives.
Known as Dr O throughout the community, Brian received his BA at Roberts Wesleyan as a scholarship athlete in two sports in basketball and soccer, MS Ed at Buffalo State, SDA, SAS and SDA at St University. Bonaventure and his Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) at SUNY Buffalo. Dr O has had an illustrious 40-year career in education. He worked for the Olean City School District for 36 years as a teacher, administrator and coach. He has served as construction director at Washington West Elementary School, Ivers J. Elementary School, and Olean Middle School, as well as principal of district community schools. He was an adjunct professor in the education department at SBU, was a supervisor of student teachers at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, and was part of the post-graduate internship at SUNY Buffalo. He is also the author of numerous publications in the field of education and has received the Good News Education Award presented by the Chamber of Commerce of the Olean region.
Brian was very active in the Olean community. He was a founding member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish club in the city. He volunteered as a coach for the Olean Little League, the Olean Midget Football League and was referee Gus Macker. He coached basketball at Jamestown Community College and football for the Olean City School District and served as an IAABO basketball referee. Brian was also elected to the Cattaraugus County Legislature.
Brian loved the outdoors. He was a sportsman from start to finish. He was a longtime hunter and fisherman. Some of his dearest moments have been spending time with his wife, sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the great outdoors, especially at Camp O’Connell in Westline, Pa. Fly fishing in Kinzua Creek in Pennsylvania Fly fishing in Flathead River in Montana. He was above all a father. His passion was spending time with his loved ones, whether in the mountains, on the stream, in the gym, at the pool or in the field, he clearly enjoyed watching his family grow up with his beloved wife Carol by his side. .
In addition to his wife, Brian is survived by three sons, Brian Jr. (Rene ‘) O’Connell of Olean, Kevin O’Connell of West Seneca and Patrick (June) O’Connell of Olean; grandchildren Sean O’Connell, Kylie O’Connell, Brendan O’Connell, Maggie O’Connell, Logan O’Connell, Keenan O’Connell and Makenna O’Connell; Great-grandchildren Kieran O’Connell, Callum O’Connell, Fiadh O’Connell and Gianna O’Connell; one brother, James (Donna) O’Connell of West Falls. Brian is also survived by special friends Bunny and Carl Zandi, Loretta and Jim Bushey and Teri and Ron Orris who recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary with Brian and Carol. The four couples grew up together in Bradford and all got married in 1966.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, funeral services will be held for the immediate family only on Saturday (December 11, 2021) and a Catholic burial will follow at Saint-Bonaventure Cemetery. A celebration of Brian’s life will be hosted by the family at a later date and time.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Guenther Funeral Home Inc., 1303 E. State Street, Olean. If you would like to express your condolences or share a story about Brian, please visit www.guentherfh.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Dr. Brian O’Connell Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund at the c / o of the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, 301 N. Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY 14760, or in online at cattfoundation.org

Published by The Bradford Era December 8-15, 2021.