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JAMES A. "JIM" O'CONNOR, joined his Heavenly Father on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. He was born on Aug. 23, 1924. Born and raised in Fort Wayne, he attended the University of Notre Dame where he also participated in the Naval ROTC program. After graduation, he proudly served in the United States Navy as Lieutenant on Board the U.S.S. Little Rock. His education as a chemical engineer led to a long career with Essex Group, a division of United Technologies. While there, he developed several patents for the company and designed a solvent recovery system that provided significant environmental protection. As a result, he was awarded the prestigious 'Sagamore of the Wabash' award by the Governor of Indiana in 1984. He was president of the Essex Group when he retired in 1984 to pursue other interests in Florida. After retirement, he enjoyed time with friends and family on the golf course and at the Bridge table, cheering for his beloved Fighting Irish and finding other interesting business opportunities. He dabbled in the energy industry with great interest in alternative sources including thermal loop heat pump systems and hydroelectric power. No matter what the business, he always sought ways to do things better - more efficiently, more economically, and more effectively. His desire to assist others led him to become a supporter of and mentor for Habitat for Humanity families in southwest Florida. While always promoting the value of education, he happily guided his families through major financial and lifetime decisions. He will be lovingly missed by his wife of 65 years, Audrey (Poinsatte) O'Connor; daughter, Kathy (Bill) Dillhoff; son, Mike (Suzy) O'Connor; daughter, Laurie (Dave) Russell; son, Jamie (Cheryl) O'Connor; 11 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; brother, Paul O'Connor; and sisters, Jeanne Derheimer and Pat Meehan. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Mary (O'Connor) Krock; and brother, Jack O'Connor. Mass of Christian Burial is 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, at St. William's Catholic Church, Naples Fla. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Avow Hospice of Naples, Fla. (So that they may continue to provide the compassionate care to others that he received during his last weeks); Moorings Foundation Inc. of Moorings Park in Naples, Fla. (To provide extra assistance to all those who took such good care of him throughout his years there); or Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Florida (To continue its work in providing homes for all). For online condolences, please visit www.fullernaples.com
Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Feb. 3, 2013