Ona B. O'Connell, 93, painter who taught at area colleges

November 01, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Ona B. O'Connell, an artist who enjoyed painting seascapes, landscapes and portraits in watercolors and oils, died Oct. 25 of cancer at her Towson home. She was 93.

Her works were shown at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and Peale Museum and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. She taught at the Metropolitan School of Art, University of Baltimore, Forest Park High School and Villa Julie College.

Mrs. O'Connell, who started painting in the 1930s, was a graduate of Maryland Institute, College of Art. During the 1950s, she had a studio in the 900 block of Cathedral St., in a rowhouse that was known as Studio House.

For many years, she lived on a farm on Middleton Road in Freeland, where she converted an old barn into a studio.

She continued painting until the 1970s, when her sight began to fail.

She had been president of the local Artist Equity chapter and the National League of American Pen Women. The former Ona Buchness, who was the daughter of Lithuanian immigrant parents, was born and raised on Washington Boulevard in Southwest Baltimore. She was a graduate of St. Catherine's Normal Institute.

During the early 1920s, she was trained at Johns Hopkins Hospital as an X-ray technician. She worked for her two brothers, who were physicians, until her 1928 marriage to Richard C. O'Connell.

Mr. O'Connell, who was City Council president from 1939 to 1943, was nicknamed "White Horse Dick" because he rode his horse, Silver King, at the head of many parades. After his death in 1968, his wife moved to Towson.

Plans for a memorial service were incomplete yesterday.

She is survived by a son, Richard C. O'Connell Jr. of Baltimore, also an artist; a daughter, Mary Ita O'Connell of Silver Spring; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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