Sheila A. O’Connell

Freeport — Sheila Ann O’Connell, born March 5th, 1940, daughter of the late Jean (Miner) and Harold O’Connell passed away October 24 surrounded by her loving family.  She grew up in Springfield, Virginia where she graduated from Annandale High School.  She is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithica, New York, and earned her master’s in social work at the University of Connecticut.  She moved to Maine and began her practice specializing in group work at Community Counseling Center, followed by the Growth Exchange with Laurent Roy, LCSW, Southern Maine Counseling, Maine Counseling Associates and finally her home-based practice in Portland and then Freeport.  She extended her social work interests in being an advocate for the Shalom House in Portland, serving on their board and successfully lobbying for their continued funding.  

Besides being a student of various psychotherapies Sheila was intensely spiritual and psychic. 

Hers was a caring, compassionate, loyal, and fiercely independent spirit, challenging viewpoints and posing the deeper questions.  She had a lifelong love of government and public policy, reading voraciously, taking classes from Cornell to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  She loved children and took great joy volunteering in the South Portland school system where three grandchildren are enrolled.  

Sheila leaves behind her loving husband of 33 years, Pierre Shevenell.  She leaves three sons: Richard Patnaude, James Tierney and Andrew O’Connell-Shevenell and their wonderful spouses Rachel Trafican, Tammy Nason-Tierney and Courtney Shevenell.   She was adoring of and felt deep love for her five grandchildren who knew her as Zuzu: Jack, Frank, and Greta Tierney; Nina Jo and Wyatt James Patnaude.  She will be loved and remembered by these as well as her sister Jean Nader and brother Anthony O’Connell, sister-in-law Paula Shevenell, and her six nieces and nephews – John, Jennifer, Howard, Amy, Chris and Jennafer – who were all held close in her heart.

Sheila loved gardening and had the best ever flower gardens this year.  She cherished theater, good movies (of which she was an excellent critic), camping at Lamoine and Cobscook State Parks, Mount Desert Island, kayaking, painting, colors, and adventures.   She believed in and supported creativity in all she knew.  

There will be no funeral services.  There will be a celebration of her life and our love for her next August.  Please e-mail if you would like to participate.  Please do.  Your memories and messages will be welcome.  

In lieu of flowers, Sheila wished for people to support the great work of the Maine Center for Grieving Children. In gratitude for their unbelievable care, we would encourage folks to donate to and learn about Hospice of Southern Maine.




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