Dr. William T. O’Connell of Duxbury, a podiatrist who was known to many as Dr. Bill, led an active life well into his 80s. He traveled extensively, touring Russia and South America, among other places while making 21 trips to Ireland. He skied into his 70s, and, with his wife Rita, devoted considerable time and resources to a wide range of Irish cultural and historic organizations, giving special emphasis, much time, and frequent lectures to educate, entertain and raise funds for the Deer Island Famine Memorial.
Lenahan O’Connell of Jamaica Plain, who died on Jan. 5, celebrated his 100th birthday last June. While a handful of people achieve the centenarian milestone, not many do so having lived a life so large as Mr. O’Connell. From family and the law to the very history and politics of Boston from the 20th to the 21st centuries, this rock-ribbed Boston Irish Democrat, did it all, with a keen sense of justice, humor, hard work, and a commitment to people, whether his law clients or those in society who needed the most help.
Robert H. Quinn, a Savin Hill, Dorchester, native, recovered from a life and death bout with tuberculosis as a young man to became one of the Commonwealth’s most powerful political leaders of his generation. Mr. Quinn, 85, was a state representative from Ward 13 who became speaker of the Massachusetts House and, later, state attorney general. He was a pivotal figure in bringing the University of Massachusetts to its present home on Dorchester’s Columbia Point in the 1970s.