John F. O'Connell, 85, formerly of Berwyn, a bank executive and community activist, died Tuesday of complications from an infection at White Horse Village, a retirement community in Newtown Square.
Mr. O'Connell was raised with eight siblings in Cambridge, Mass. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Force and flew 50 missions as a navigator on B-17 bombers in North Africa and Italy. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal.
After his discharge he earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard University. He then worked in the production department of N.W. Ayer, an advertising agency in Philadelphia where he met his future wife, Joanne Preston.
Mr. O'Connell later joined Brown Brothers Harriman Bank in Philadelphia. He retired after 27 years with the bank in 1984, as manager of the financial advisory department.
While his children were growing up, Mr. O'Connell served terms as president of the Devon-Strafford Little League; the Conestoga High School Ice Hockey Club; and the Berwyn School PTA. He served on the Tredyffrin-Easttown school board for many years, and was past president of the Devon Citizens Association.
He enjoyed playing golf at Waynesborough Country Club, where he had been a member for more than 40 years.
In addition to his wife of 57 years, Mr. O'Connell is survived by a daughter, Paige McGuire; sons Preston, Mark, Scott and Paul; and 11 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be at noon today at White Horse Village, 535 Grandyville Rd., Newtown Square.