John J. Connell

  • Died: January 12, 2016
  • Location: Grafton, New Hampshire

The O'Donnell Funeral Home

O'Donnell Funeral Home
84 Washington Square, Salem, MA 01970
Tel. (978) 744-2350

Tribute & Message From The Family

Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to John J. by adding your memories and photos.

GRAFTON, NH – John Joseph Isaac Connell, formally of Salem, MA passed away unexpectedly at his home on Tuesday January 12, 2016.

John was born in Salem, son of Robert F. Connell and his late wife, Irene (LeBel) Connell. He was a graduate of Salem High School class of 1978 and went on to work 30 years at the former Stahl Chemical in Peabody.

John fell in love with New Hampshire as a young man and moved there following his heart and also his devotion to liberty, joining early movers of the Free State Project. Upon his retirement, he moved to Grafton, NH where he became founder and pastor of Peaceful Assembly Church to live out his mission of fostering peace and forgiveness.

John was a peaceful revolutionist and a free spirit full of love and laughter who was both a great listener and an inspiration to those around him. He was passionate in all his diverse interests and talents. In his earlier years, he was a hockey goaltender, lead singer of Crystal Waves, a local rock & roll band, artist, and lighting & sound engineer for local plays and concerts. Music and artistic endeavors carried on throughout his life. In recent years, he built massive ice sculptures, created peaceful rock displays, and painted. He loved spending time in nature: enjoying the hills, climbing the rocks, or walking his beloved seacoast and had the ability to capture its beauty through his photography. He stood by, stood up, and didn't waver from his social and political beliefs and was happy to discuss them.

He is survived by daughters, Maria Rose Connell and Theresa Rose Connell; son, Robert John Connell; and their mother, Rosemarie (Noel) Connell, all of Salem, MA. Other surviving family members are his 2 sisters, Barbara Baker and her husband Steve Iskra of Beverly, MA, Elizabeth Gauthier and her husband Jeano of Salem, MA, and 2 brothers, Tim Connell of Salem, MA and William Connell of Moorpark, CA. John was predeceased by his brother, Bobby. He also leaves many loving aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews including: Jeffery, Adrienne, and Corey Baker and Kyle, Michael, and Ryan Gauthier, as well as close friends: Rusty Darling, Russell and Kat Kanning, and Lisa Gray.

ARRANGEMENTS: A celebration of John's life will be held Sunday January 17, 12 pm to 3 pm at the Salem Knights of Columbus, 94 Washington Square, (at Salem Common) Salem, MA. Relatives and friends are invited and welcome. There will be Words of Remembrance at approximately 1:30pm. There are no other visiting hours. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in John's memory to Listen Community Services, 600 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH 03766. Assisting the family with the Arrangements are The O'Donnell Funeral Home, 46 Washington Sq. (At Salem Common) Salem. To share a memory or offer a condolence please visit:


Condolence & Memory Journal


Rest in peace, Jack. You lived life to the fullest and will be missed. Much love to your family

Posted by Nancy Oconnell - Alfred, ME - Friend   April 11, 2016

So sorry to hear about Jack. We remember the Crystal Waves well, always a joy at family parties!!

Posted by Rob and Carol Leslie - Beverly - Friends   January 18, 2016

So sorry to hear of the Family's loss. Jack was a wonderful person. We Nash's loved the Crystal Waves playing at the beach house, as did everyone!! RIP, Jack!!

Posted by Joyce Nash - Salem - A friend   January 18, 2016


John was a good hearted soul who lived his beliefs, not many can do that in today's world, I admired him for it. His mission of spreading forgiveness was an honorable one that touched and helped heal many lives.
I'll miss his visits, our wonderful conversations, and his unique perspectives.

Posted by Susan Weiss - Canaan, NH - Friend   January 17, 2016

Sincerest Sympathies to the Connell Family.
Jack was truly one of the most genuine human beings on the planet.
So saddened to hear of his passing.
I often think of him when hearing the words "to be a rock and not to roll"
when I hear Stairway to Heaven.

Posted by Darla Rizzotti - Danvers, MA - friend   January 16, 2016

Jack was a unique and inspiring friend who will be truly missed. Rock on!

Posted by Beth Tobin - Salem, MA - Family friend   January 16, 2016

Family Album

"So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr