Dr. Leo Patrick “Pat” O’ Connell

Dr. Leo Patrick “Pat” O’Connell, MD, of Williamsburg, Virginia, went to his eternal rest on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

Born in Orange, New Jersey, on January 16, 1941, Pat was the eldest child of Leo Vincent O’Connell and Julia Marie Shelley. He graduated from Summit High School in 1959 as a member of The National Honor Society. Pat received a congressional appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1960 and graduated 4th in the class of 1964. He was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force where he continued his education at Stanford University Medical School in California. Pat received his Doctor of Medicine in 1969 after the completion of Stanford’s rigorous five-year program. Upon his graduation, the USAF transferred him to the Medical Center at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, for a one-year internship at Wilford Hall Hospital that was followed by a three-year residency in diagnostic radiology at Stanford University Medical Center. In the third year of his residency, Pat was named chief resident of radiology.

In 1973, Pat was transferred back to the East Coast to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, as the Chairman of the Department of Radiology at USAF Hospital Langley AFB where he served until 1977. Lt. Col. O’Connell left the service in 1977 to begin private practice as a solo practitioner radiologist in Newport News. In addition to his Tidewater Radiology and Oyster Point Radiology practices, Pat read films for Doctor’s Clinic in Newport News, and the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, and was an OSHA certified B-reader for diagnosing asbestos-related injuries. In addition to the plain film, Dr. O’Connell eventually specialized in diagnostic mammography and joined with Dr. Amor and Dr. Baggs in the founding of The Breast Diagnostic Center, in Newport News. In 2011, Pat sold his private practice, but not one to completely retire, continued to read x-rays at Churchland Internal Medicine in Chesapeake, up until the pandemic.

Dr. O’Connell was Board Certified by the American Board of Radiology with a specialty in Diagnostic Radiology, and he was a member of The American Medical Society, The Medical Society of Virginia, The Newport News Medical Society, and The American College of Radiology.

“Pat”, as he was known by most people, was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Newport News, Virginia. He served many years on the Church Council and as an usher. He was also very involved with Trinity Lutheran School serving on the school board for several terms.

Pat was an avid reader, and a philatelist, and he enjoyed operas, symphonies, vegetable gardening, and traveling to many different countries around the world, including hitting all seven continents. But his greatest joy was watching his grandchildren perform in their horse shows, baseball games (He played catcher on a baseball team when he was young), volleyball, soccer matches, lacrosse games, sailing regattas, swimming meets, gymnastics meets, ballet recitals, school band concerts, musicals and plays of the school drama department, and truly appreciating the artwork of a grandchild as it progressed to a professional nature. He clapped, yelled, cheered, congratulated, and praised the efforts of his beloved ten. The smile never left his face where they were concerned.

Dr. O’Connell is survived by his loving wife of nearly 57 years, Pearl Johnson O’Connell of Williamsburg; his sons, Leo “Kevin” O’Connell (Jeannette Dodson-O’Connell, Esq.) of Newport News, and grandchildren Madeleine Ruth, McKenzie Elizabeth, Leo Phillip, and Zachary Roy; Roy Johnson “John” O’Connell of Ashland, Virginia, and granddaughters Sydney Layne and Peyton Avery; Dr. Karen June O’Connell, MD, (Dr. Paul Edward Manicone, MD) of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and grandchildren Gabriel Raphael and Alivia Lyric; Kristin O’Connell Sorokti (Craig Peter) of Charlottesville, and grandchildren Hailey Pearl Lindqvist and Miles Selwyn Lindqvist. He is also survived by his brothers Daniel Francis O’Connell, Esq. (Barbara); James Richard O’Connell (Patricia); Peter Michael O’Connell (Stephanie); sister Julia Ann O’Connell (Barbara Ponter); as well as numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Newport News, Virginia on Sunday, July 17, 2022, at 12:30 p.m. followed by a reception in the church social hall. Our family would like to thank family, friends, and Pat’s caregivers for their loving support. He lived a good life and was loved and admired by many.

It was Pat’s wish, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to one of these hospitals that were near and dear to his heart: The Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Norfolk, VA; The DC Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN; or Trinity Lutheran Church 6807 Huntington Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607. Any floral arrangements may be sent directly to the church.

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.


  1. Pam Gilson Koppe

    Pearl, I am so sorry for your loss. What an outstanding person your husband was! I know you miss him dreadfully. I remember that happy 60th birthday high school reunion in Summit. I sat at the same table with you and your husband, and I still have that photo of Betty and you and me, the former twirlers! I helped arrange a small reunion a few years back in California but didn’t know how to get in touch with you. I missed Betty and Sue as well as neither were able to attend. However, Roger Nelson came, and I enjoyed talking to him on the hike I Arranged on Mount Tamalpais. Let’s keep in touch. I can send you some photos.

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