Ellen B. O’Connell, 84, who worked at the Velatis candy store in Washington from 1948 to 1958 before becoming a homemaker, died Feb. 12 at the Bedford Court senior living facility in Silver Spring.
She had congestive heart failure, said her son Ed O’Connell.
Ellen Brigid Boyle was born in Cordal, Ireland. She immigrated to the United States and settled in the Washington area at 18 and became a U.S. citizen shortly thereafter.
Mrs. O’Connell helped found the Irish American Club of Washington. She taught and performed Irish step dancing, including on local television programs in the 1950s, her son said.
She was a resident of Silver Spring, where she volunteered at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. She also volunteered with her children’s schools and Cub Scout packs in Montgomery County.
Her husband of 52 years, retired deputy D.C. fire chief Thomas A. O’Connell, died in 2008. Survivors include three children, Dennis O’Connell of Washington, Ed O’Connell of Santa Monica, Calif., and Peggy Laferty of Silver Spring; two sisters, Joan McAuliffe of Silver Spring and Peggy Flynn of Cordal; a brother, Sonny Boyle, also of Cordal; and two grandchildren.
— Emily Langer