Hotchkiss resident John M. O'Connell Sr. died May 7, 2017, in Eckert after a brief illness. He was 79.
Funeral services will be held in Hotchkiss at the Elks Lodge at 10 a.m. Monday, May 22. Interment will follow at the Riverside Cemetery in Hotchkiss.
He was born April 13, 1938, to Daniel and Louella O'Connell in Spokane, Wash. He spent his childhood in New Mexico, Idaho, Nebraska and then moved to Colorado in the late 1950s.
On Jan. 4, 1962, he married Muriel Woodman. They had two children and divorced in 1982.
Mr. O'Connell worked in various trades. He worked for Gray Construction in Montrose for 17 years on projects that included the installation of the powerline right of way to Hayden from the Morrow Point Reservoir, Bureau of Reclamation projects and the rehabilitation of the Ute Trail in the Black Canyon. He then operated a small gas station, O'Connell's Self-Serve, in Hotchkiss. He spent the last 15 years of his working career as a truck driver for Savage Brothers. He retired after an injury in 1992.
In 1992, he married Barbara Smith Payne and gained three daughters. He and Barbara were divorcing at the time of his death.
He is survived by his son, Steven (Val) of Hotchkiss; his second wife, Barbara; three daughters, Becky (Wanda) Armstrong of Hotchkiss, Debbie (Jim) Fiscus of Rifle and Connie (Robert) Townsend of Medford, Ore.; sisters, LaVeta Sangosti and Virginia Lasater, both of Gunnison, and Cindy (Victor) Girardi of Eckert; seven grandchildren, Jacklyn (Clint) Hall, Danny (Erin) O'Connell, Christina O'Connell, Casey (Betsy) O'Connell, Stephanie (Christian) Duran, Josh Brown and Vanessa Dean; nine great-grandchildren, Kole, Kadi, Kali and Kash Hall, Kaylynn, Ty and Ryker O'Connell, and Corbin and Soraya Duran; his first wife, Maxine O'Connell; and extended family.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Rodney; a sister, Karen Baumgardner; and a son, John O'Connell Jr.
Memorial contributions may be made to HopeWest, PO Box 24, Delta, CO 81416.
Taylor Funeral Service and Crematory is handling the arrangements.
Thanks to the efforts of state Rep. Millie Hamner, House District 61, Colorado State University plans to re-open the Rogers Mesa research site.
The facility was taken out of operation in 2011, due to budget cuts throughout the CSU system.