Dr. Thomas J. O'Connor, Jr. passed away peacefully in Copley Ohio at the age of 93 after an illness. He was born March 7, 1928, to Thomas Joseph O'Connor and Ann Colleran O'Connor. He grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts with his siblings, Joan Marie and Nancy Ann. He attended Gates Lane and Midland Street Schools before going to Classical High School, where he was a dual sport stand-out as co-captain of the City Champion teams in both baseball and basketball.
At the tender age of five he nearly drowned while sledding on weakened ice on Coes Pond in Worcester. He was rescued by Officer Timothy Kelly who broke through the ice 30 feet from shore. Officer Kelly subsequently received the Anthony Scott Medal for Valor for his courage and bravery in saving the child's life. The two were reconnected twenty years later at a recognition ceremony.
In June 1946, upon graduating from high school, Tom enlisted in the United States Navy where he served aboard the aircraft carrier the USS Saipan CVL.48 for two years. Following his return from the service he continued his education at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire and then at Georgetown University's School of Dentistry in Washington, D.C. During his studies at Georgetown, he met his wife Dorothy, who was a student in Georgetown's School of Nursing. Both graduated from their respective programs in 1955 and were married the following year.
Dr. O'Connor returned to Massachusetts where he established his office and practiced dentistry for fifty years. He served his patients and professional community as an active member of and, for a time, as the President of the Worcester District Dental Society. He was a lifetime member of the American Dental Association. He was passionate about the dental field and supported continuing education on the advancement of techniques for patient care.
Tom was a true sports enthusiast. As a fan and as a sportsman who always found excitement in the action as well as respect for the skills required to perform. For many years he enjoyed golfing as a member of Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Massachusetts and Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. He successfully played in many club championships and member- guest tournaments each year.
After retiring from his dental practice and relocating full time to Florida, he authored and published a book entitled My Two Years with Father Edmond A. Walsh at Georgetown University. The book shared Tom's experiences as a caregiver to Father Walsh, the renowned geopolitician who founded Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and Diplomacy and was an advisor to Presidents, Diplomats and Statesmen. Father Walsh was also an advisor at the Nuremberg trials in the 1940's.
During their sixty-six-year marriage the O'Connor's were blessed with eight children all of whom graduated from the colleges and Universities of their choices and of whom he was very proud. In addition to his beloved wife, Dorothy, he leaves his three daughters and their husbands: Sharon Ennis (Patrick), Colleen Wernig (Mark), Sheila Massarelli (Dr. Daniel), as well as his five sons and daughters-in-law T.J. O'Connor III (Kelly), Sean (Dr. Nancy), Kevin (Jennifer), Brian (Kristina), and Brendan (Mary). He also cherished his twenty-one grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.
Tom's life was deeply rooted in his Catholic faith, family ties and love for his country. The family feels grateful to have had the privilege of his guidance, love, and leadership. He led by the example of always being honest, kind and caring all underpinned by there being only one way to do things- the right way!
The family wishes to express its sincere appreciation and gratitude for the exceptional care extended by the staffs of Crossroads Hospice and Heritage Crossing.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 27, 2021 at Guardian Angels Catholic Church, 1686 S Cleveland Massillon Rd. Copley. A visitation will be one hour prior to the Mass at the church. A private family burial will take place on Monday, November 29, 2021 at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery.
Should friends desire, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Saint Joseph's Abbey, 167 N Spencer Rd, Spencer, MA 01562 or Saint Anselm College, 100 St. Anselm Drive, Manchester, NH 03102.