William R. Connell, 93

FULTON, NY – William R. Connell, 93, passed peacefully on Thursday February 1, 2018, surrounded by family in Summerfield, Fla.

William R. Connell
William R. Connell

His journey began on April 9, 1924, at home at 591 Delaware Ave, Syracuse, NY.

He was the sixth of seven children and he was known as Irwin “Ford” Mereau.

As a toddler, the children were given over to what is now known as Elmcrest Children’s Center.

He found happiness when he was adopted in 1931 by Mabel and Thomas Connell.

They provided a loving home on Brampton Road, Syracuse, and he began a new life with a new name.

His next moment of fortune happened at 17 when he met the love of his life, Mary Jegier, in Schenectady, NY.

They married on Jan. 1, 1944, and purchased their first home in New Haven, NY, where they brought three children into the world.

After starting a dry cleaning business in Oswego, NY, they settled in Fulton, NY; where they raised their children.

During their empty nest years, they built a home on Oneida Lake and spent many winters in New Smyrna, Fla.

They also spent many years camping and traveling the Thousand Islands, Cape Cod, the East Coast and the country.

In more recent years, they resided in Hannibal, NY, and Summerfield, Fla.

In 1979, he had the good fortune to locate and reunite with two brothers, Earl “Scotty” Mereau and Clarence Mereau as well as cousins, nieces and nephews.

Bill enjoyed many years reconnecting with them.

He always had a library card and a stack of books at his side.

He was a lifelong student of American history, anthropology and astronomy.

He was conversant with many topics of the world.

Bill was a passionate student of the human condition.

He believed with religious fervor that it was a privilege to live each day.

Bill believed that love and God have to be the basis of the universe.

He was a wise and compassionate human being.

He was very proud of his family and loved them very much.

He had many friends and family who loved and respected him as well.

He is survived by his loving wife, Mary, with whom he celebrated their 74th anniversary on Jan. 1.

He is also survived by their three children: William R. Jr. (Carol,) of Liverpool, NY, Thomas M. (Priscilla) of Clayton, NC, and Janet M. Cuyler (Paul T.) of The Villages, Fla.

He had nine accomplished grandchildren and also 20 wonderful great-grandchildren.

Bill was predeceased by his grandson, Paul T. Cuyler Jr. (13), in 1983.

Services will be private and arranged by Sugar Funeral Home, 224 W. Second St. S., Fulton.

Burial is in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Fulton, NY.

Donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

Bill requested that a Celebration of Life be conducted in the Spring so that he can oversee it from above.


  1. Dear Mary Janet , Bill , Tom & families

    I am so sorry to hear of this news. I remember his visits and your Moms visits with my parents Steve & Edith Smith as a child. And all the interesting conversations I remember being so fascinated with the different types of pipes he would smoke and his such distinguished manner . Sending prayers to you all during this time. Give your Mom a big hug from me. She was such a good friend to. My Mom.

  2. Delaware STREET in Syracuse was in a lovely part of Syracuse back then (1920s) woodsey areas not far away and Burnet Park just a few blocks, too. There was an orphanage not far away, The House of Providence run by Catholic nuns. Quite a few future residents of Oswego County started their lives there (that orphanage) and were later adopted by Oswego parents! I’ve met a few. Thought I’d provide Mr. Mereau/Connell’s history with a little bit of water colour! :0) Humble beginnings often lead to wonderful lives! Sounds like this was one.

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