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Kevin O'Connell dies; longtime electrician and part-time bartender was 76

Kevin O'Connell in an undated photo. He was

Kevin O'Connell in an undated photo. He was an electrician for four decades. Credit: O'Connell family

Kevin O'Connell left a lasting impression whether he was coming or going.

O'Connell, a retired electrician and part-time bartender who lived in Seaford, died Thursday after years of living with melanoma, his family said. He was 76.

"Kevin always had a sense of humor. He always had his one-liners," said Eileen Kenny, O'Connell's sister-in-law. "He had his Kevinisms. All of a sudden, you're repeating his one-liners."

Kenny, 64, of Farmingdale, said O'Connell was the patriarch of his large family. Loved ones were with him when he died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.

"He would also sneak out without saying goodbye," Kenny said. "This was the hardest Irish goodbye we had to deal with."

Kenny said her brother-in-law was a faithful Christian and patriot who served in the Army National Guard.

Sean O'Connell remembered his father as a tireless worker who could easily relate to people.

Kevin O'Connell, an electrician for four decades with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3 who also tended bar in Seaford, would sometimes travel out of state in order to put food on the table, his son said.

"He put in a lot of time as an electrician — early in my life, often having to travel to find work when it wasn't busy enough in New York," said Sean O'Connell, 50, of Albany.

As a bartender, his father was so popular, patrons would often drop by no matter what shift he worked, Sean O'Connell said. "He was extremely witty and had a great following. He was as comfortable on one side of the bar as the other — whether he was sitting or he was serving."

O'Connell's wife, Carol O'Connell, 74, said her late husband commonly referred to her as his "bride." They were married 52 years.

"He always treated me like a queen," she said. "Every morning he made his coffee for me, went out and got the paper. . . . He took care of his bride."

The couple traveled to Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Alaska and took yearly trips to Southern Florida, she said.

She said they expressed words of adoration the day before he died and shared a kiss the morning of his death.

"The last thing he said to me was, 'I love you,' " she said.

A viewing will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the William E. Law Funeral Home in Massapequa. Serves will be held 11 a.m. Monday at the St. William the Abbot Church in Seaford.

In addition to his wife and son Sean, and Sean's wife, Theresa, he is survived by son Kevin O'Connell Jr. and his fiancee, Melissa Hawxhurst; daughter Kelly Herron and her husband, Terry Herron; daughter Kami Boell; and sister Patricia McArdle. He is also survived by seven grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother Robert O'Connell.

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