Isabelle O’Connell. Submitted photo
Isabelle O’Connell. Submitted photo

Isabelle Agatha O’Connell, age 99, peacefully passed away with family at her side on April 30, 2019 in The Deerfield Retirement Community at New Richmond, WI.

Isabelle was the first of 5 children, born to Benedict and Mae Donnelly Murphy on November 17, 1919. She grew up on a farm in Gilman Township, Pierce County, WI. She attended 8 years of school in Olivet, WI and graduated from Spring Valley High School, class of 1936. After two years of school at UW River Falls, she earned her teaching certificate and started teaching in rural schools in Pierce County in 1938. Later she attended night school and summer school classes earning her Bachelor of Education degree in 1960.

She married Bernard O’Connell on June 29,1944. As they farmed together in rural Elmwood, WI they were blessed with 4 children: Richard, Jeanne, Brian and Sue Ellen. In 1954, Isabelle returned to teaching at South Hill, WI school and continued teaching in the Spring Valley school district as a fourth grade and reading specialist teacher a total of 38 years.

While raising her family, helping on the farm and teaching, Isabelle continued to use the skills learned in her youth playing piano. She became the choir director at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in El Paso, WI. When that church closed in 1980, she joined the Ecumenical choir in Elmwood, WI. For many years she and Bernard would participate in those concerts throughout Pierce County. After Isabelle and Bernard retired, they enjoyed vacations in Ireland, Germany, and Peru. They also loved spending time at their cabin on Balsam Lake with their children and grandchildren.

Upon Bernard’s passing in 1989 she moved to New Richmond. Later she married Joe Spindler who passed away in 2004. Isabelle continued her love of music and pursued a new hobby of painting. She created some award-winning paintings which hung in her home and were shared with her family. She also continued to travel with her family to Ireland, France, Venezuela, and Italy. As the years passed Isabelle suffered declining vision which halted her ability to travel, paint, and read music. That did not stop her from singing or enjoying music. Daily it played in her home. Isabelle was listening to music playing in the background as she peacefully passed away.

Isabelle will forever be remembered by her children, Richard (Diane) O’Connell; Jeanne (Bob Hasewinkle) O’Connell; Brian (Kristie) O’Connell; Sue Ellen O’Connell; grandsons Daniel (Carlene) O’Connell, David O’Connell, John (Maggie) O’Connell, Micheil O’Connell; great grandchildren Alexis O’Connell, Shawn O’Connell, Ashley O’Connell, Abraham O’Connell, and Bernadette O’Connell; many nieces and nephews.

Isabelle was preceded in death by her parents Ben and Mae Murphy, her husbands Bernard and  Joe Spindler; brothers John Murphy, James Murphy, Robert Murphy; sister Jean Joynt.

The family wishes to sincerely thank the staff at The Deerfield and the St. Croix Valley Hospice for the kindness and care they showed Isabelle.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday June 4, 2019 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Church in New Richmond, WI. Funeral Mass will follow at 10:30 a.m. Lunch will be served after Mass.

On Wednesday June 5, 2019 a Celebration of Life will be held at the Brother Michael Center in Spring Valley, WI from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. with a prayer service at 5:00 p.m. Interment will be held at the El Paso Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. for family members.

In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to The Deerfield, 1127 W. 8th St. in New Richmond, WI 54017 or to St. Croix Hospice, 7200 Hudson Blvd, Suite 100 in Oakdale, MN 55128.