Nature 29

Joseph Michael O'Leary

March 21, 1927 ~ November 29, 2021 (age 94)


SOUTHBURY - Joseph Michael O'Leary, 94, of Heritage Village Southbury CT, passed away peacefully surrounded by his beloved wife of 74 years, Patricia, and their children after a brief illness.

Mr. O'Leary was born on March 21,1927 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was the son of the late John Michael O'Leary and Jane (Rabbitt) O'Leary. 
Mr. O'Leary attended St Peter's Prep in Jersey City, Seton Hall College, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Charter Oak College, and at the age of 65 earned a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Southern CT State University.

Mr. O'Leary had a career in international transportation and distribution and traveled extensively. He was employed by 3M Corp in MN, Singer in NYC, and both Timex and Pitney Bowes in CT. Before his retirement, he served the community as an investigator with the Department of Children and Families.

Joe's faith was the foundation of his life. He was an active parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church in Waterbury and Sacred Heart Church in Southbury where he served as a lector and a Eucharistic minister and attended Mass daily. At the age of 80 he traveled to Haiti on a church mission trip. For many years, Joe volunteered weekly at St. Vincent DePaul homeless shelter in the mental health division. He served as Grand Knight with the Knights of Columbus in Waterbury, CT. Joe lived his life following the example of St. Francis and was a professed Secular Franciscan for the past 6 years. 

Music was an important part of Joe's life. In high school, he formed and led a big band, Joe O'Leary and the Harmony Knights, and was the lead vocalist. He played the clarinet and led the high school marching band. Joe and his wife Pat shared a passion for music, and they enjoyed performing together in a variety of community theater productions. They led the Joy of Singing group at Heritage Village and were well known for their beautiful duets. Joe also enjoyed Christmas caroling with his family.

Joe was a brilliant man with a dry sense of humor that people loved. He was an avid reader and a history buff who was affectionately referred to as a "walking encyclopedia" by his family. He also took up painting later in life. His greatest pleasure of all was spending time with his family. Big family gatherings and attending his children's & grandchildren's performances and sporting events brought Joe much joy, as did the countless family trips to the beaches of Cape Cod, RI, CT, and the Jersey shore. He and Pat also enjoyed traveling together as a couple. Although he travelled the world, he often said that his favorite trip of all was the one he took to Ireland with Pat, the love of his life. 

Besides his wife, Patricia (Coffey) O'Leary, Mr. O'Leary is survived by five of his seven children: Michael (Sue) O'Leary of McGregor, MN, Keith (Karen) O'Leary of Middletown, Ann O'Leary of CT and NC, Daniel O'Leary of Newton, NJ, and Megan (John) Carney of Southington. He was the proud grandfather of thirteen grandchildren: Tara Davenport, Colleen Sullivan, Sean O'Leary, Kevin O'Leary, Caitlin Schlachter, Kaylyn Sylvester, Briana Frye, Allison Rayson, Shannon Williams, Jake Williams, Georgia O'Leary, Ryan Carney, and Lauren Carney and was a great-grandfather to 19 great-grandchildren. He also leaves many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a daughter, Kathleen O'Leary Moore and a son Brian O'Leary as well as his seven siblings: Grace Whelan, John O'Leary, Mary Murphy, Theresa O'Leary, Catherine O'Leary, James O'Leary, and Thomas O'Leary. 

Calling hours will be on Sunday, December 5, 2021, from noon to 3:00 pm. Family and friends will gather on Monday, December 6, 2021, at 11:00 am for a Mass of Christian Burial. Both services will be held at Sacred Heart Church, 910 Main Street South, Southbury, CT. Burial at Center Cemetery in Colebrook, CT will take place at a later date.

Donations may be made in Joe's memory to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at, Food For The Poor at, or the Mustard Seed Fund at  For directions, or to leave a message of remembrance, please visit


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph Michael O'Leary, please visit our floral store.


December 5, 2021

12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Sacred Heart Church, Southbury

Mass of Christian Burial
December 6, 2021

11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Church, Southbury


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856

Food for the Poor, Inc.
P.O. Box 979005, Coconut Creek FL 33097
Tel: 1-800-427-9104

Sacred Heart Church Mustard Seed Project
910 Main Street South, Soutbury CT 06488
Tel: 1-203-264-5071

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