Mission Preservation Foundation Board Members

George O'Connell,

Mission Preservation Foundation
President, George O'Connell shown with wife, Eden O'Connell (Left)

March 5, 2013 Gate House Opening

George O'Connell was born and reared in Massachusetts, is a long-time resident of San Juan Capistrano and a parishioner at Mission San Juan Capistrano. He joined the Board at the invitation of Tony Moiso, the founding Mission Preservation Foundation President. He recalled, "The Mission is a big part of the history of this town, and I wanted to be a part of it."

George recalls that within a few months of moving to San Juan, he was volunteering to sell nachos at Swallows Day at the Mission. He remembered, "Monsignor Martin [Mission pastor for 26 years] asked me to help, so how could I say no?"

George is founder of O'Connell Landscape Maintenance, which he began with $60 and a borrowed truck in 1971. Today it is a successful business that employs over 1,100 people.

He is generous with a variety of charities, including Mission Hospital, the Shea Riding Center and Camino Health Center, to name a few, but the Mission is by far his favorite: "Serra Chapel is my passion. I remember the first time I attended Mass there; it was overwhelming. It's hard to believe we have a church that old right here in town."

Preservation of the Chapel has since become his cause, which he shares with his good friend, Mission pastor Msgr. Arthur Holquin. He also has been involved with fundraising and improvements on other parts of the Mission campus, including the parish church and school.

With George O'Connell's leadership, over $3 million was raised to design and construct the Gate House Preservation Project.

George is married to wife Eden and has three grown children. His interests include traveling, biking, golf, going to the beach and gardening. His parents were from Ireland, and hence, he has citizenship in both the United States and Ireland.

George is a dedicated supporter of the Mission. He remarked, "We're already a major tourist attraction in the community, and we're getting better all the time."