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Popular Sunnysider Takes His Own Life

Oct. 3. 2012 By Bill Parry

Sunnyside’s Irish community was stunned to learn of the death of Paul O’Shaughnessy over the weekend.

The 44 year old, who lived on 44th Street, took his own life on Friday night, leaving behind his wife, Susan, and four children aged from six to 16 years.

Known as “Shocko” to his large circle of friends, he was a carpenter from Trim, County Meath, who had great success in the US in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

O’Shaughnessy and his family decided to move to Ireland during the heydays of the “Celtic Tiger”, only to return to the US upon its collapse. After his return to Sunnyside, O’Shaughnessy soon realized that most of his contacts had moved away. His business suffered as a result.

While most wouldn’t discuss the circumstances of his death, one family friend of 15 years said O’Shaughnessy had “succumbed to his demons.”

A wake was held at Lynch’s Funeral Home on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday evening, a crowd that approached 150 turned up.

Father Brendan Duggan, who came from St. Mary’s Winfield Church in Woodside, spoke at the Tuesday gathering, and said the economy has caused much suffering and offered “encouragement for those left behind.” Father Duggan also asked, “What do you say to the family at a time like this?”

After the wake, Father Duggan said: “Suicide continues to haunt the Irish community.” The priest went on to implore relatives and friends of the depressed to seek help from community leaders or a priest.

He added that “I am not a licensed counselor, but Catholic Charities can always help those in need.”

Father Duggan will lead the funeral service at St. Sebastian’s on Thursday at 11am.

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Woods user

Paul,may you rest in were a fond friend..many of chats we stunned to hear of your passing..was so sad to hear..always good memories of you in sunny side for many years.hard worker,kind guy,had time for all..not sure how Man utd or Meath gaa will get on now without a loyal supporter..sympathy to out to your family in sunny side and Meath..Paul RIP..

Martin Joyce

Rest in peace Paul hope st Peter met you at gates of heaven with your 2 cups coffee and smoke thinking of you Susan and kids

Philip Dunne

Very,very sad to hear of Paul’s passing.In my mind we will forever be 15!!!Paul burned out too soon.My sincerest sympathies to Susan,their children,his mum and siblings.RIP

Orla O'Shaughnessy Walssh

Paul O’Shaughnessy was my brother and a fine man. He is fondly remembered by all of his family and conuntless friends both here in New York and in Ireland. He was not from Navan, as the story read, but from Trim, County Meath. He was a good husband and father and a great brother to me here in New York and to his sisters and brother in Ireland and an unforgettable son to his mother and recently passed father. The church now teaches that anyone who takes their own life, is considered to be not in their right mind at the tikme and are, therfore considered blameless in the eyes of God and the church and they receive all the graces of God and the church.
These should not be the questions you now ask – the questions every one of you need to ask is whether you have a family member or a friend who perhaps needs you to hear what they are saying and to REALLY pay attention. Is there someone in your life suffering alone, because they just won’t share their burdens lest you deem them weak ?? Pay attention – we have an epidemic on our hands among our young Irish (mostly men) not just here in the Irish communities of New York, but at home in Ireland. We need to stop just talking about how sad it is and how awful it all is and we need to sit up and try to do something. I hope to put my words where my mouth is and start a group that will in some way be an outreach amongsst us. If anyone is interested you can email me at
I thank everyone for your outpouring of sympathy and compassion as this truly is a devastating loss

Kathy lally

May he finally rest in peace. Fr Brennan Duncan
is an amazing priest that we r lucky to have here in
Woodside and he can renew ur faith in all making.

Long time sunnysider

@crisis unfortunately what u sed s not true. I know a local catholic church that refused the mother of a suicide victim to hav his funeral mass sed there 2 months ago. I thought it was a disgrace but unfortunately that’s the way it s. I guess it’s up to the head priest to decide whether to do it or not. RIP Shocko and god bless ur wife and kids. It s just so so sad.


7traindelays, no, that’s not the case these days. They will have a funeral no matter the circumstances. These are the hardest ones, the family truly suffers…

If anyone needs a crisis line, call 1-800-LIFENET or 1-800-SUICIDE for help.


Prayers for the family and friends of Mr. O’Shaugnessy. May God be with them in their time of grief and need.


Even when we are given more than we can bear and the darkness is overwhelming; love of family and friendships should bring one towards the light of life.

Rick Duro

My thoughts are with his family, absolutely tragic news. I hope the community rallies around them in their time of need.


Oppressed Masses

Terrible tragedy. We should all pray for the soul of Mr. O’Shaughnessy and pray that his family will be able to find peace.


This is a nightmare for the family. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. There are likely many more among us who have felt they are in a dark, hopeless place with no escape. The current social and economic climate is indeed taking its toll as I’ve known others who have committed suicided in the last two years. It doesn’t look as if it will get better either.

I was surprised to hear that the church is holding the funeral. I was under the impression that the church did not perform services for those who take their own lives or let them be buried on consecrated ground.

Old Lady Sunnyside

May God make his blessed presence known to Mrs. O’Shaughnessy and her children. May they know the peace that passes all understanding.


So so very sad.
..Father Duggan is right,try to help those who cannot seem to help
themselves and
perhaps more little children won’t have to grow up without a parent . .

Not an easy thing to do though, some people will just not be helped.


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