Former Haverhill Schools’ Business Manager O’Connell Dies at 70

Haverhill Schools Former Business Manager Brian O’Connell. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Former Haverhill Public Schools’ Business Manager Brian O’Connell has passed away, city officials confirmed Friday. He was 70.

A resident of Worcester, O’Connell had not been heard from in several days and friends requested a well-being check at his home, where he was found. In the middle of serving his 18th term on Worcester’s School Committee, O’Connell was not present at that city’s committee meeting. He had been seeking re-election to a 19th term this fall.

O’Connell’s former boss, Haverhill’s former Superintendent James F. Scully, remembered him fondly in a conversation with WHAV Friday afternoon.

“I’ve been a public school administrator for many years, and a superintendent for almost 20 years. Brian, without doubt, was the most sincere, honest and easy-going individual that I’ve ever dealt with. He was a graduate of Holy Cross College and Harvard Law School—two of the most finest institutions in this country. Yet, he was always humble and as the motto at Holy Cross states, ‘Men and women for others,’ and Brian was always there to help others.”

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini echoed Scully’s sentiments.

“During Brian’s many years as the Haverhill school district’s business manager, I met with him regularly and developed a very good personal and professional relationship with Brian,” Fiorentini told WHAV via email. “I thought he did an excellent job for us and was very fond of him. My thoughts and deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

O’Connell, also an attorney, served as Haverhill’s business manager for three years before leaving the district in June amid strife over contract negotiations and pressure to quit as a new administration took charge.

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