John B. McDonnell

March 2, 2021


John B. McDonnell, 97 of Trumbull, passed away peacefully on March 2, 2021 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Bridgeport. He was the husband of the late Rosemary (Egan) McDonnell.

John was born in New Haven, to the late Bernard J. McDonnell and Gertrude (McGrail) McDonnell.  He grew up in Hamden, and graduated from Hamden High School. John trained at the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation and served his country overseas in the US Air Force, during WWII.   

After returning from the war, John graduated with a B.S. in Education from New Haven Teacher’s College. He subsequently earned a Master’s Degree from Fairfield University, along with a Sixth Year Degree from Syracuse University and the University of Bridgeport.

John began his career as a teacher in the Milford and Bridgeport school systems. He went on to become principal of Webster School and then the newly-opened East Side Middle School in Bridgeport. He then participated in the establishment of the first magnet school in Bridgeport called High Horizons, and later became principal of the next two magnet schools, Woodrow Wilson and Nathan Hale. John also served on the first board of directors of Housatonic Community College. 

When John retired, he became a member of the Greater Bridgeport Retired Teachers Association for the next 35+ years. He was a founding and lifelong member of St. Andrew’s Parish in Bridgeport, where he served as a lector, Eucharistic Minister and sang in the choir. John and Rosemary enjoyed traveling the world. Later, John continued to enjoy cruising the rivers and waterways east of the Mississippi with his daughter Ann. John was an avid bowler and won duck pin bowling trophies into his mid 90’s. He was also a dedicated daily reader. 

John is survived by his daughter Ann McDonnell and husband Chas, his son Edward McDonnell, a sister Elizabeth Fitzgerald and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by his sister Mary Butler and his brother Vincent McDonnell. The family would like to thank the staff at the Veterans Administration in West Haven, as well as the team at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, for the wonderful care they gave him. A private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Andrews Catholic Church, Bridgeport, on Friday May 21, 2021.  To send online condolences please visit


Private Services

St. Andrew Church
435 Anton Street
Bridgeport, CT

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