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Louise O'Connell

Updated: Mar 27, 2023



Louise “Lou” O’Connell died Monday, March 20, 2023, due to complications from bladder cancer.


Louise Lavonne Adams was born October 30, 1932, to Willie and Evelyn (Baker) Adams on a farm outside the town of Woodbine in western Iowa. Louise - “Sis” to her family-spent her youth in that region, living on various farms with her parents and siblings. She attended country school until 8th grade and then went on to Woodbine High School from which she graduated in 1951.



Following her graduation, Lou moved to the Washington D.C. area, where she worked as an administrative assistant for the Department of the Army in the Pentagon. Lou returned to Iowa in 1954 and settled in Des Moines the following year. She worked at the Freeport Insurance Company where she met her future husband, Ron O’Connell, in 1958. The couple married on April 16, 1960, and relocated to Atlantic, Iowa shortly after their marriage. Lou, Ron and two small children, Mike and Cindy, moved back to the Des Moines area in late 1962. Another child, Pat, was born after the family returned to Des Moines. Lou and her family moved to Harlan, Iowa for six months in 1975 and then returned to the Des Moines metro area where she lived for the remainder of her life.


Lou worked for the State of Iowa, initially in the Iowa Aeronautics Division and then for the Department of Transportation. She spent most of her time while employed by the State as the registrar for private aircraft in Iowa. She retired in 1997 after twenty years of service. After her retirement, she spent her time enjoying gardening, sewing, baking, crafting, playing the organ and spending time with her family.


Lou is preceded in death by her husband Ron O’Connell, parents Willie and Evelyn Adams, brothers Bill and Wayne Adams, and her beloved schnauzers Snuggles and Lizzy.


Lou is survived by her children Mike O’Connell (Trudi) of Des Moines, Cindy O’Connell (Rick Dressler) of Des Moines, Pat O’Connell (Becky) of West Des Moines; three grandsons Kale, Nyle and Keegan O’Connell, all from the Des Moines area; four great-grandchildren Killian, Ava, Decklan and Caison; her sister Fran Sherard of Lakewood, CO and her sister-in-law Barb Adams of Council Bluffs, IA.


The family would like to thank the medical team at Mission Cancer and Blood in Des Moines for their excellent care during Lou’s cancer treatments.


The family would also like to thank the staff at Ramsey Village, where Lou lived for the last seven years. She developed many friendships while there and was a highly regarded resident due to her friendly and sweet nature. The medical aides in the Suites of Ramsey Village, where she lived for the duration of her hospice services, provided compassionate care until the end.


In addition, the family is very appreciative of the supportive aid and care that Lou and her family received from Unity Point Hospice.


Lou will be cremated and interred alongside her husband Ron at Chapel Hill Gardens Cemetery on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines. A memorial will be held Saturday, April 8 from noon to 2:00 at Ramsey Village, 1611 27th Street in Des Moines. Please enter Ramsey on the lower level, at the south end of the facility. A small parking lot is available as well as street parking.


In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations in Lou’s honor to Unity Point Hospice or the Animal Rescue League of Central Iowa.

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