In loving memory of James Lloyd O’Connell Jr.
March 18, 1925 – September 13, 2023
James Lloyd O’Connell Jr., 98, died Wednesday, September 13, 2023, of congestive heart failure at his home in Encinitas.
Lloyd was born on March 18, 1925, in Oakland, California, to James Lloyd O’Connell Sr. and Lillian Lauretta O’Connell. He had one younger sibling, Warren, who died in 1949.
His elementary schooling in Oakland was at St. Augustine Catholic School, and he graduated from University High School in 1944. That same year, he enlisted in the Navy, did his basic training at the San Diego Naval Training Center, and later became a radar specialist. He met his future wife, Geraldine (Gerry) Ruth Williams, at the Army Navy YMCA in San Diego.
During WWII, he served in the Pacific on the USS Brookings, leaving the ship to attend Officer Training School at Oregon State in 1945. While in Oregon, the war ended, and he left the Navy and transferred to UCLA as a Business Major, but graduated in 1950 with a BA in Education. Dad completed his master’s in Education at San Diego State University in 1957.
Lloyd began his 35-year career in Education as a 4th-grade teacher in the Albany Unified School District in northern California. He moved to Hilmar, CA, to teach 6th Grade and Phys. Ed in high school. As his family grew, he and Gerry moved south to La Mesa, where he taught 6th Grade while he finished his Master’s Degree.
The family finally settled in Encinitas, where he became the Principal of Ocean Knoll Elementary (1960-76), Pacific View (1960-61), and Park Dale Lane (1976-79). His other projects included founding Dir. of Summer School, Encinitas Union School District (1961-73); Federal Project Dir. (1961-74), Author and Director of State Projects for the Educationally Handicapped and Early Childhood Education. Returning to the classroom, he finished his career as a 5th-grade teacher at Pacific View Elementary (1980-83).
Dad loved his community. He was Charter President/Secretary of the Y’s Men’s Club – North Coast YMCA, a member of the Kiwanis (11 years), a member of the congregation at St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar and later at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Encinitas.
He joined the Encinitas Historical Society in 1984. Ida Lou Coley was a mentor and a fount of information about the town’s early days.
He wrote grants and fundraised to help restore the schoolhouse. He served as President 12 times, established and led the Downtown Walks, established the Docent Program, and founded the 3rd Grade History Writing Program.
Dad’s leisure time was spent camping, playing golf, fishing, sailing, and reading westerns and detective novels.
Basketball was a passion. John Wooden gave him a tryout at UCLA, and he coached the 145lb. Basketball team at UCLA his Senior year. Later, he joined the Rocking Chair Basketball League in Encinitas. His team, The Whiz Kids, were the champs in 1966-67.
He loved working in his beautiful garden and dancing with his wife, Gerry. He was unwavering in his love and support of his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by his daughters Elizabeth Dreazy of Encinitas and Catherine O’Connell of New York City, and his son James L. O’Connell III of San Diego, his two grandsons Trevor Hackett of New York City and Joshua Dreazy of Oceanside. His wife, Geraldine (d. 2007), and his daughter, Eve (d. 1971), predeceased him.
Funeral Service will be held on September 30, 2023, at 1:30 PM, at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 890 Balour Dr. Encinitas.
In place of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to The Encinitas Historical Society, encinitashistoricalsociety.org, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, [email protected], or Silverado Hospice, silveradohospice.com/sd