Mary Hope O'Connell

  • Born: January 4, 1931
  • Died: April 6, 2021
  • Location: New Rochelle, New York

Pelham Funeral Home

64 Lincoln Ave
Pelham, NY 10803

Tel. (914) 738-1060

Tribute & Message From The Family

Mary Hope Peel O' Connell, a lifelong resident of Pelham, passed away on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. She was a (youthful) 90 year old. Born in Manhattan to Frank and Leanora Peel, Mary was an only child. She was raised in Pelham where she attended Colonial Elementary School before graduating in the class of 1948 from Pelham Memorial High School. Mary was a go-getter and played field hockey while attending PMHS. After High School she furthered her education by attending Good Counsel College and would eventually graduate with her M.A. degree in English and Elementary Education in teaching from Hunter College.

Mary found her vocation at an early age. She worked as an elementary public school teacher for 26 years before continuing to pursue her burning desire to work with children: Mary founded Playful Wonders After-School Enrichment Program in 1986 and then opened Junior Wonders Nursery School, in Pelham, in 1992. Mary served as Director of both programs up until spring break of 2021.

Mary was the dedicated family matriarch. She met her husband, Thomas "Byron" O'Connell, on a blind date at a catholic social and would eventually marry at Our Lady of Perpetual of Help Church in 1956. The couple would raise their seven children in New Rochelle. Mary was a devout catholic and attended Mass daily at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. Mary taught CCD on Sundays for over 30 years at OLPH and directed the annual Christmas play. She had deep devotion to Our Lady and the Miraculous Medal.

Mary will be remembered as a great listener, very focused, optimistic and unstoppable. Undoubtedly she had a deep faith, was very religious and loved her large family, friends, and her many students & families.

Mary is survived by her children Mary Rose (Jordan) Glickstein, Tom O'Connell, Robert (Julia) O'Connell, Isabelle Lombardi, Hope O'Connell, Francis (Michelle) O'Connell and Anne (Tom) Mordasky. She will be missed by her 10 grandchildren; Matthew & Owen Glickstein, Alexandra O'Connell, Ronan & Jude O'Connell, Christoper Lombardi, William and Eri O'Connell and Ava & Riley Mordasky. She will be missed by her many students whom she loved and adored. Mary is predeceased by her husband Byron.

A celebration of Mary's life will take place at the Pelham Funeral Home located at 64 Lincoln Avenue, in Pelham New York on Thursday April 8th from 4-8PM. A Requiem Mass will take place at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church located at 575 Fowler Avenue in Pelham, New York, on Friday April 9th at 10:00 am. Interment will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. For more information or to leave a condolence please visit


Condolence & Memory Journal

I was so sad to learn of Mary's passing. She was a lovely person who did so much for children. My sons attended her programs when they were small and loved it. I was lucky to also get to know her better in recent years through OLPH. She was smart, caring and giving. She touched so many people and will be missed.

Posted by Christine Andreoli - Pelham, NY - Acquaintance   April 29, 2021

So sad Pelham has lost such a great lady. I have so many fond memories of Mary from the days when my children Nick and Martina Perrorazio attended Junior Wonders (1995-2000). Mary had such a wonderful way with children. As a mother and teacher she had seen it all, and never got flustered by the antics of her young students. RIP Mary.

Posted by Patricia Maxwell-Stashenko - STAMFORD, CT - Acquaintance   April 20, 2021

Our daughter McKenna attended the after-school program at Siwanoy & Mrs. O'Connell was always a joy. And may the thought of your mom/grandma be a joy too.

- The O'Hara Family

Posted by Michael O'Hara - Pelham Manor, NY - Neighbor   April 20, 2021

We lived next door to the O'Connells for many years in New Rochelle and were fortunate to have them as neighbors. Friendships between our children and good times shared together in our yards still bring up fond memories. Mary was such a special woman, energetic, patient, and kind with a smile and good word for everyone. Our deep condolences to the family - we know how much she will be missed. We are grateful and blessed to have known Mary and will remember her in our thoughts and prayers. Dom & Joan Gullusci

Posted by Joan Gullusci - HOBE SOUND, FL - Friend   April 12, 2021

I had the pleasure of teaching with Mary at Longfellow School in Mount Vernon ,many years ago. She was the quintessential teacher whose devotion and dedication to the children went beyond the call of duty... she touched so many young lives and I'm sure to this day her former students remember her with fond memories.My deepest heartfelt condolences to the children and family of dear Mary.

Posted by Fran Friscia - New Rochelle, NY - Friend   April 11, 2021

Our deepest condolences. Matteo loved every moment with Mrs. O'Connell at Playful Wonders. She brought such passion and joy to the classroom and inspired our son's curiosity. We feel grateful to have known and learned from her. We keep Hope, the O'Connell family, and the entire Playful Wonders community in our hearts. Mary will be missed.

Posted by The Carbone Panzani Family (Josie, Marisa, and Matteo) - PELHAM, NY - Student   April 09, 2021

Hi This is Thea. I have known Isabelle since we were 22. We spent much time in and out of each other's houses, which means I spent many weekends at the O'Connell house. Mrs. O'Connell was always encouraging to me during various surgeries and with life in general. I miss her already. My Mom and I send all our love.

Posted by Thea Levy - New York, NY - Family Friend   April 08, 2021

Hi This is Thea. I knew Isabelle since we were 22. We were in and out of each other's houses all the time, which means I stayed with her parents so many times - overnight. I knew Mrs. O'Connell so well and loved her very much. She always had nice things to say about me and my Mom and was very encouraging to me during various surgeries and just in life in general. I already miss her so much.

Posted by Thea Levy - New York, NY - Family Friend   April 08, 2021

To my friend Tom and family,My deepest condolences on the passing of a very special woman, your mother. I am so happy I could share her birthday celebration not too long ago. Your mother and the memory of that evening wil remain in my heart. A role model for all of us.

Posted by Cristina Fontanelli - New York, NY - Friend   April 07, 2021

Robert and family, We are so sorry for your loss. A mother's love can never be measured or loss. May you find strength in the many memories and lessons of your mother. God Bless, Kim & Tim Myers

Posted by kim myers - vestal, NY - Friend   April 07, 2021

This hurts to write. Dearest Mary, you've touched our hearts in so many ways. We are forever grateful for the kindness, generosity and love you showed to us. We'll always remember you as a beautiful refined lady and a bright, strong spirit. Rest in Peace with Saints and Angels. With love, the Yershovs.

Posted by Andre Yershov - New York City, NY - Friend   April 07, 2021

Our family was very blessed to know Mary even though it was only for a short time. Audrey will always remember working with her in the Christmas play and many great memories from Playful Wonders.
-The Cruz Family: Audrey, Allison, Quahtemoc

Posted by Allison Martin - Pelham, NY - Acquaintance   April 07, 2021

God rest you in perpetual peace, Mary O'Connell. You will be missed!

Posted by Noel Vanek - Pelham, NY - Acquaintance   April 07, 2021

My deepest condolences to the entire family. Mary was such a lovely person and she will be missed. Praying for everyone.

Posted by Susan Witz - New Rochelle, NY - Friend   April 07, 2021

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