BULVERDE, Texas — D. Thomas (Tom) O’Connell, a 42-year veteran in advertising in the U.S. and Canada including 18 years with Hearst Newspapers in San Antonio, Texas, died on November 28, 2016 at age 83 in Bulverde, Texas.
In 1983, Tom came to San Antonio from Dallas to marry his long-lost love, Betsy, he met in 1954 on a train between Frankfort, Germany and Paris, France.
Tom was hired by the San Antonio Light as Financial Advertising Manager during the circulation/advertising war between the Light and the Express-News. Tom brought the Light’s low financial category market share to above 50 percent. In 1993, he moved to the Express-News upon the closing of the Light and retired in 2001.
Tom’s advertising adventures started in1959 upon graduating from the University of Vermont and being hired by the Washington Post in their Classified Automotive Department. He was hired from the Post by BBDO Advertising in 1963 – during the ‘MAD MEN’ era on Madison Avenue. His regional advertising duties servicing the Dodge Automotive client brought him to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston before being promoted to East Coast supervisor out of New York.
In 1971, Tom was hired by Ted Bates Advertising, (New York) to move to Montreal, Quebec, Canada and head up the Ski-Doo Snow-Mobil account in North America. In his eight years in Canada he also worked for Singer Sewing Machine (Canada) as Advertising Director and the Royal Bank of Canada as National Retail Advertising Manager.
In the late 1970s, Tom returned to BBDO Advertising in Boston heading the Dodge business in New England. The Agency lost the business in 1980 and Tom found himself in Dallas on the Ford Automotive account with J. Walter Thompson Advertising.
Tom was born on Nov. 16, 1933 in St. Albans to J. Norman O’Connell and Doris Boudreau. He graduated from Holy Angels School in 1947 and St. Mary’s High School in 1951. After high school, he was employed by the FBI in Washington, D.C. as a clerk before joining the U.S. Army in 1953 and being stationed in Germany as part of the NATO Forces with the 1st Infantry Division. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1959 and attended Georgetown University Law School during the evening in Washington, D.C.
Tom leaves his wife of 33 years, Betsy, two children, Laurie O’Connell of Montgomery Center, and Suzy Lamont of Tasmania, Australia and one grandson, William Harrington of Los Angeles, Calif. He was predeceased by a son, Danny O’Connell and a daughter, Marcy O’Connell.
Also surviving are three stepchildren; Forrest Welmaker, his children Annaliese and Emmerie; Mary Elizabeth Young and her husband, Michael, their children Avery and McKenzie; Byron Welmaker, his children Kyla and Brinnah,
Tom lived A FULL LIFE.
A graveside service will be at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 19 at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetary.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 7, 2017 at the Holy Angels Church in St. Albans.
Memorial contributions may be made to:
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 315 East Pecan St., San Antonio, Texas 78205. San Antonio Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 6569, San Antonio, Texas 78209, and CHRISTUS VNA Hospice & Palliative Care, 4241 Woodcock A 100, San Antonio, Texas 78228.
You are invited to sign the guestbook at www.porterloring.com
Arrangements are with Porter Loring Mortuary, 1101 McCullough Ave., San Antonio, Texas 78212.