Official Obituary of

Lila O'Connell

June 30, 1925 ~ March 30, 2024 (age 98) 98 Years Old

Lila O'Connell Obituary

Lila Carmen O’Connell of Pierceton, Indiana passed away at 2:03 a.m. on Saturday, March 30, 2024, at Parkview Kosciusko Hospital in Warsaw, Indiana at the age of 98.

She was born on June 30, 1925, in Peru, Indiana to Mary Bernice (Hopper) Mull and Homer Grant Mull.  Lila’s incredible life started with fond memories of her parents and grandparents doting on her, even affording her the ability to participate in dance, voice, and piano lessons.  This began her lifelong love of playing piano, especially playing often on her prized baby grand piano.

Lila attended Peru High School and was in the honor society and president of the student body graduating in 1943.  While finishing high school, her fiancé, Thomas O’Connell was attending the ROTC wartime program at Wabash College.  They married at St. Charles Catholic Church in Peru, Indiana on August 28, 1943, which soon began Navy life for the couple.  After serving, Tom was discharged in Oakland, California.  They, along with their firstborn child returned and settled in Peru, Indiana.  Family life flourished having nine children in Peru and then moved to Warsaw, Indiana where the tenth and final child was born.

Lila was an entrepreneur all her adult life which started when still living in Peru and she was in sales for Stanley Home Products for nearly 10 years.  In 1971, the family bought and operated the O’Connell’s Poolside Motel for over a decade.  Lila was a sales representative for Combined Life Insurance, followed by a long stint working as a sales representative for the National Federation of Independent Business, retiring in 1987. Lila owned and maintained several apartments over the years.  Her small business experience allowed her to acquire several Pizza King restaurants in a joint venture with her sons.

As a Gold Star Family with the loss of their son in the Vietnam War, the family started the Michael G. O’Connell Award at St. Charles Catholic School in Peru, Indiana, until they closed, and still today at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Warsaw.

Lila was a self-taught artist and instrumental in opening the first Lakeland Art Center and Gallery in 1993.  Serving in many positions including executive director, president, and gallery manager, she was successful in organizing various fundraisers for LAA and won many awards throughout the years for her artwork.  She had many hobbies including double deck bid Euchre and was an avid Bridge player playing in many leagues, often with her sons, up to her passing.  She was always a reader of books and newspapers.  She loved bird watching and was a member of the Audubon Society.  Lila loved to travel around the US, Canada, England, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, and Mexico.

In 2000, Lila moved and lived in Pierceton, Indiana until her passing.  Her entrepreneurial spirit continued, as she served in many community organizations including the free community dinners at her parish, Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church as well as other local churches.  She held art fairs and several Wine and Jazz events.  Lila was an avid Republican supporter assisting and attending many fundraisers over the years.  Her family will miss her yearly April Fool’s joke she spent so much time planning and always fooled many!  She was concocting the next one just days before her passing.

Lila loved and cherished her 10 children, 18 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.  She attended many school and extracurricular events whenever she could.  She loved having our large family get-togethers including last summer for her 98th and final birthday celebration.  Lila always loved having a great time and will be forever missed by her family, friends, and acquaintances. 

She will be lovingly remembered by her three sons, Thomas (Cindy) O’Connell III (Venice, FL); Patrick (Jonell) O’Connell (Warsaw, IN); James O’Connell (Warsaw, IN); five daughters, Carolyn (Jon) Bumbaugh (Boyertown, PA); Mary Kathleen Slattery (Rochester, IN); Laura Grow (Pierceton, IN); Tammy (Randy) Barber (North Manchester, IN); and Teresa O’Connell (Dayton, OH).  She was preceded in death by her parents, son, Michael Grant O’Connell in 1969, daughter, Judith Howell in 1997, her twin grandchildren, Michael and Michelle O’Connell, grandson, Thomas O’Connell IV, and her brother, Ralph Richard Mull.

Lila’s life will be celebrated with a memorial service at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Road, Warsaw, Indiana and officiated by her family.  Friends and family may visit prior to the service from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.  She will be laid to rest at Oakwood Cemetery of Warsaw.  

Memorial donations may be directed to the Lakeland Art Association, 302 E. Winona Avenue, Warsaw, IN  46580; Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School, 125 N. Harrison Street, Warsaw, IN  46580; or to St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 408 W. Catholic Street, Pierceton, IN  46562.   

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April 9, 2024

12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home
225 Argonne Road
Warsaw, IN 46580

Memorial Service
April 9, 2024

3:00 PM
Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home
225 Argonne Road
Warsaw, IN 46580


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