Stephen Francis O'Connell

  • Wednesday November 2, 2016
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Stephen Francis O'Connell

October 8, 2016

Stephen Francis O'Connell died October 8 in San Francisco after a long illness. He was 66. Stephen grew up in Belmont, Massachusetts, the son of Ethel Sears O'Connell and Dick O'Connell, then the general manager of the Boston Red Sox.

Stephen attended St. Sebastian's School in Needham, Massachusetts; St. Francis College, Maine; and the University of Oregon, where he earned his master's in landscape architecture. He moved to San Francisco in 1988. He became a visionary urban planner, pushing conventional spatial boundaries to create a sense of place and purpose that was fresh and pragmatic.

In San Francisco, Stephen found loving community within the Billy Club and helped form a heart circle of close friends that met monthly for 16 years. He enjoyed the companionship of Digby, his first and only dog and the source of many new friendships.  

Stephen was a true original with no patience for clichés. He was funny, astute, ironic, and sometimes outrageous. When you were with him, he made you feel like you were the most important person in the world.

Stephen is survived by a sister, Kathleen O'Connell; a brother, Kevin O'Connell; his nieces, Elizabeth and Lauren O'Connell; his nephew Brandon O'Connell Swanberg; and many devoted friends.