Becoming a managing director at Sandler O'Neill & Partners was a triumph in at least two ways for Diana J. O'Connor, 37. Certainly it was an accomplishment born of gritty determination: working three jobs, the former Diana Vega, the 15th of 16 children from a Brooklyn family, was one of just two of them to attend college. Then she pressed on to graduate school.
But Mrs. O'Connor also savored her financial success because it allowed her to express her generous nature. A needy relative's rent would be quietly paid, a sick person attended by the best doctors, someone's legal bills covered. She raised money for science labs in a grammar school and helped establish a children's park in Eastchester, N.Y. With a deepening Roman Catholic faith — at pajama parties for her sisters she'd hand out goody bags stocked with holy water, a Bible and candy — she believed hard work had value only if she could plow its rewards back into the souls of the people she loved.
She got it all done — the countless acts of kindness; her devotion to her husband, Bill; her radiant, meticulous attention to their daughter, Amanda. She was a Wall Street executive who sang happily at her desk.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on August 25, 2002.
O'CONNOR-Diana J. (nee Vega). With deep sorrow, we mourn the passing of our dear Diana, who was taken from us tragically in the attack on the WTC on September 11, 2001. Beloved and devoted wife of Bill, devoted and caring mother to Amanda Rose O'Connor. Cherished daughter of Maria and the late Joaquin Vega. Truly loved as a daughter by Marion and Michael O'Connor. Loving sister to all of her siblings and their spouses. Dearly loved sister-in-law to Debbie, Rosemary, Lisa and Michael O'Connor. Adored aunt of many nieces and nephews. Managing Director and devoted employee of Sandler O'Neill Partners. Diana strived to live the word of God. She was a gentle and humble spirit, a peacemaker, and generous to a fault. She approached every day with courage and determination. She acted quietly & ardently to alleviate others' pain. She gave graciously & she asked for nothing in return. She was a gift from God. It was a privilege to know and to be loved by our precious Diana. A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 A.M. on October 27th at St. Luke's Church in Whitestone, Queens. Those who wish to honor Diana may contribute to the Diana O'Connor Memorial Trust, which has been established for the care and education of her daughter, Amanda Rose, P.O. Box 41, Eastchester, New York 10709.
Paid notice published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 14, 2001.