Pastor Jerry R. O’Connell, 76, of Palmyra, PA fell asleep on Monday March 27, 2023 at Hershey Medical Center and entered his heavenly home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Born August 18, 1946 in Denver Colorado, he was the son of the late Robert Eugene and Marjorie Radford O’Connell.
He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Kathy (Lear) O’Connell and children: Shawn, Robert and Beth Amy, Laura and Justin, grandchildren: David, Elizabeth, Nevin, Cadel and Garner and siblings: Bobby Hazelton and Maxine O’Connell. Jerry was proceeded in death by a brother Claude (Mike) and sister Alice.
In 1965 God intervened in Jerry’s life and bringing him to repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He joined the Airforce in 1965 and was honorably discharged in 1969. Called to the ministry by his Lord, he studied and graduated from Calvary Bible College of Kansas city Missouri with a B.A. degree in Pastoral Ministry.
While studying at Calvary Bible College, Jerry’s heart for people grew as he served as a youth minister for Chapel Hills Baptist Church. He served as a house parent for emotionally handicapped children and as a Pastor to the People’s Church of Kansas City. In 1977, he was ordained to the ministry while pastoring at the Adams Mennonite Brethren Church in Adams, Oklahoma. He then pastored at Our Redeemer Church in Midland, Michigan. In 1980 he and his family were sent to Battle Creek, Michigan under the Evangelical Mennonite Conference to explore church planting possibilities. They were active members at the Pine Grove Mennonite Church in Battle Creek, MI through 1981 when he was called to the Pastorate at Richfield Mennonite Church. He founded Shepherd’s Fold Counseling to aid those in need. In retirement, Jerry would drive Amish children to school while serving with his wife, Kathy, at Rissers Mennonite Church.
Viewings will be held Sunday, April 2nd, 2023 at Richfield Life Ministries Church (167 Church St, Richfield, PA 17086) from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, and on Monday, April 3rd, 2023 at Rissers Mennonite Church at 10:00 am.
The funeral will be held at Rissers Mennonite Church (8360 Elizabethtown Rd, Elizabethtown, PA 17022) at 11:00 am
Private graveside services will be held Wednesday April 5th, 2023 at 11:30 am at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Rissers Mennonite Church for their basement renovation project.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Miller-Finkenbinder Funeral Home, Elizabethtown Pa.
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