Nature 06

Patricia O'Connell

April 20, 1935 ~ October 16, 2021 (age 86)


There goes a force! Patricia Lou O’Connell (nee Swigers), CEO, CFO and COO of the O’Connell Family Household, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Saturday, October 16, 2021.  Since the death of her husband, Philip M. O’Connell, in 2017, Patricia had been faithfully attended to by her children, primarily Cathleen Mulder, such that she was able to remain at her home for most of that time.

Patricia leaves behind those four children, Cathleen (Steven) Mulder, Kevin (Midori) O’Connell, Karin O’Connell (Victor Ottati) and Shannon O’Connell, as well as her ten grandchildren, Bryan (Katrina), Katie, Samantha, Sean, Evelyn, Patrick, Ryan, Theo, Philip and Clara, and her great granddaughter Charlotte.  Patricia is also survived by her brother, David (Donna) Swigers, of Irvine, California, many nieces and nephews, friends and special supporters.

Patricia Swigers was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to her parents John and Pearl Swigers (nee Schondelmeyer.)  At Creston High School, Pat was voted “Best All Around Girl”, which she indeed remained until her death.   She was intelligent, strong, opinionated, compassionate and beautiful.  After graduating Creston in 1953, Pat went on to Aquinas College to study music.  There she met Philip when the two were assigned to play a Mozart sonata (For Two Pianos in D Major K.448) Right away they knew their future would be together and they were married in 1955.  Pat married Phil when she was 20 years old and had borne four children by the time she was 26.  Her ambitions did not stop at raising a family. She worked at Head Start when her children were young, hoping she could contribute to the education of youth.  And while she was not pushy about education for her children, because she herself was well-educated and curious she imparted a love of knowledge to them all.

Pat loved music, literature, politics and family. Like her husband, Philip, Pat was an exceptional parent. She was fiercely devoted to her children, arriving to help upon the births of all of her grandchildren, hosting every holiday meal, lending an ear to anyone in the family with troubles. Her grandchildren often share their fond memories of hanging out together at “Tricia’s and Papa’s house”. Her many nieces and nephews also enjoyed their frequent visits and dinners with Pat.  She was so vibrant, taking aerobic dancing well into her 50’s, cross-country skiing and traveling with Philip around the world.  She was particularly fond of Rome, which she reported as her favorite city.  This made sense, because Patricia had a keen aesthetic.  She was always dressed and coiffed in an elegant manner and her house was perfectly appointed and maintained.  Combine that with Pat’s love of entertaining and of having fun and every moment with her was rich!  She will be dearly missed by many, many people.

A visitation for friends and relatives will be held at the Metcalf& Jonkhoff Funeral Home on Friday, November 26, 2021 (Thanksgiving weekend), from 5:00-7:00 p.m.


To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Visitation
November 26, 2021

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Service
4291 Cascade Road SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

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