In Memory of




Obituary for Lela Ann O'Connell

Lela Ann (Cabe) O’Connell, 91, passed away at home in Doylestown with her family by her side on
February 25, 2022. Born on September 3, 1930, in Franklin, North Carolina to Elbert Newton Cabe and
Rosalind Moore Cabe, Lela retained her love of the Blue Ridge Mountains and her identity as a
“Southern Highlander” throughout her life.

After attending Franklin High School, Lela graduated from nursing school in Greenville, S.C. While
serving as nurse in the VA hospital in Durham, N.C., she met the dashing Robert P. O’Connell, a
decorated veteran of the 101 st Airborne Division, 501 st Parachute Infantry. They married in 1956 and
moved to Washington, DC, where Lela continued her work at the VA until the arrival of their beloved
son, Hugh. In the years that followed, the family moved to Bowie, Md., where they welcomed their
daughter Caroline.

Lela joined the staff of Prince George’s General Hospital in 1979 where she distinguished herself as an
operating room nurse until her retirement in 1995. Modest to a fault, after receiving the hospital’s
“Nurse of the Year” award three times, she insisted she be removed from consideration for that award
in the future.

In 2004, Lela moved to the Maplewood neighborhood in Doylestown, Pa., where she was christened
“Mimi” by her first grandchild. In her retirement years in both Bowie and Doylestown, Lela transformed
her landscapes into bloom-filled oases, and the tomatoes she grew were known to be especially
delicious. She was a big-hearted grandmother, unstinting in her time, love, and homemade biscuits for
her granddaughters, Jillian and Annelise.

Lela was a beloved friend to many and a second mother to more than a few. She endured more than her
share of trials in her lifetime, through which she lived with grace, strength, and kindness. She was a
gentle, loving presence for her patients, her family, her neighbors, and her friends.

Lela is survived by her daughter Caroline O’Connell, son-in-law Dr. Matthew Schultz, and
granddaughters Jillian Cabe Sinton, Annelise O’Connell Sinton, and Olivia Zaremba Schultz. She was
predeceased by her husband of 37 years, Robert Philip O’Connell, and her son, Hugh Daniel O’Connell.

The family will hold a memorial for Lela at her daughter’s home in May of this year. Inquiries and
condolences can be addressed to In lieu of flowers, Lela
would like to be remembered by donations to an animal welfare organization in the giver’s locality.
Lela’s family will establish a memorial scholarship at Franklin High School, Franklin, N.C., for a student
pursuing a nursing degree.