Cornelius O’Connell, a retired East Hampton school administrator who was known as Neil, died at Southampton Hospital on April 8. He was 70 and had been ill with pneumonia.
Mr. O’Connell began his career as an elementary school teacher and then became an assistant principal.
From 1977 to 1985 he served as the principal of the John M. Marshall Elementary School in East Hampton, where he instituted a full-day kindergarten program. After nine years as the East Hampton School District superintendent, he went on to serve as superintendent of the Fishers Island School until retiring in 2000.
In retirement, Mr. O’Connell was an adjunct professor at the former Southampton College, now Stony Brook Southampton, and was an active member of the Knights of Columbus as well as a committed volunteer for Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton.
He was born in Brooklyn on March 11, 1944, a son of Helen and James O’Connell, and grew up in Cambria Heights, Queens, where he attended Sacred Heart Catholic School.
While attending the State University at Brockport, he met Stephanie Menegaux, who would become his wife. Mrs. O’Connell survives. The couple were married for 46 years.
After graduating from college in 1965, Mr. O’Connell went on to earn a master’s degree in education from Queens College. He received his doctorate in educational administration from Columbia University in 1980.
Besides his wife, Mr. O’Connell is survived by a daughter, Marjorie Egan of Garden City, and a son, U.S. Navy Commander (Ret.) Michael O’Connell of Memphis.
Two sisters, Margaret Conroy of Oakton, Va., and Joanne Kamholtz of Farmington, Me., also survive, as do three grandsons. A daughter, Jennifer Miller, and a brother, James O’Connell, predeceased him.
Mr. O’Connell enjoyed spending time with his grandsons, his daughter said, and going clamming in the summer.
A Mass was said at Most Holy Trinity on Monday, with Msgr. Donald Hansen officiating. Burial followed at Most Holy Trinity Cemetery in East Hampton.
Memorial donations have been suggested to the American Cancer Society, 75 Davids Drive, Hauppauge 11788.