Capt. Joseph O'Connell Was Boating Enthusiast

Capt. Joseph J. O'Connell Jr., 73, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., formally of Fall River, died on April 16 at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale.

He was born in Fall River on Oct. 23, 1931, the son of the late Capt. Joseph J. O'Connell Sr. and the late Miriam R. (Rice) O'Connell.

He was the former co-owner of O'Connell's Boat Showrooms in Fall River, where he spent many happy childhood years at the family boatyard located along the Taunton River. As a young boy, Joey began his career selling tickets aboard his father's excursion boats to Rocky Point - the Crystal Wave and the White Cap. He was a graduate of Somerset High School class of 1949. He married Judith Bergeron and became an active member and instructor in the Fall River Power Squadron, as well as a member of the Fall River Chapter of the Knights of Columbus, Saint Joseph Men's Club and the Quequechan Club. He was a communicant and Eucharistic minister of Saint Joseph Church in Fall River.

He acquired his pilot's license and was a member of the the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for many years. Mr. O' Connell spent many summers with his family vacationing in places such as Wickford, Block Island, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard.

He was well known in the boating community and was very often recognized by other boating enthusiasts in the Narragansett Bay area and, in later years, the Intracoastal Waterway. He contributed articles to several boating magazines, worked as a marine surveyor, ran a fishing boat charter business, and was renowned for his extensive knowledge in every aspect of the boating industry. Not only was boating his livelihood, it was his joy and love in life. He was an avid fisherman and a NASCAR fan, and was known for his colorful, tales, jokes, and sense of humor. In the early 1990s he and his wife Judy retired to Florida.

A funeral will be held today at the Hathaway Home for Funerals in Fall River, followed by a mass of Christian burial in Saint Joseph Church in Fall River. Interment is private. To light a candle or sign the guest book, please visit

Donations may be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen street, Framingham, MA 01701, or to Hospice Care of Southeastern Florida, 309 S.E. 18th street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.