PITTSFIELD - Richard P. Connor, also known as "Mr. Ford," age 94, of 116 Brighton Ave., passed away peacefully surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
He was born in Pittsfield on Dec. 11, 1919, the son of Harold R. and Angela Bordeau Connor. Educated in the local schools, he was a 1937 graduate of St. Joseph's High School where he captained the football team.
Employed in the automobile industry for over 40 years, he began his career in sales with the former Brookshire Ford and then later with the Seyffer Ford. Elevated to Sales Manager for Seyffer, he continued with the successor dealership Johnson Ford-Lincoln-Mercury and retired in 1986.
Among his many accomplishments, he was a 20+ year member of the Ford Motor Co. "500 Club" and, in 1972, received the exclusive "Top Hatter" award for sales. In addition to his sales career, Mr. Connor served as a motivational speaker and participated with the Ford Company in its Training and Sales Support Division.
For him, it was not just about "selling a car," but rather about establishing a longstanding relationship with his client. As an example, he took great pride in taking care of generations. He would sell a car to grandparents, then later to their children and ultimately to their children's children. Dick was about the relationships he established and the quest for matching the right client to the right automobile for that client.
An avid sports enthusiast and athlete, he reveled in the athletic accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. Dick was responsible for the Ford Motor Co. annual Punt, Pass & Kick competition not only in Pittsfield, the Berkshires and the state of Massachusetts, he also ran the New England Regional competition. As a result, he attended several National Competitions with the winners from New England. A member of the Monday Morning Quarterback Club, he was also a member of Rotary International.
Dick was a gentleman and his very personable manner was his hallmark. Proud of his Irish heritage, he traveled to Ireland several times. It has been said his singing of Irish Tunes improved with his age.
Dick was very supportive of community events and civic initiatives. He served with the Ward 4 Democratic City Committee in his early years. In later years, he was known to support and advocate for many candidates, regardless of party affiliation.
He was a devout Catholic who prayed every day for those whom he knew, loved and cared. His exuberant spirit and zest for life will be missed but never forgotten. A devoted family man, he was loved by all who knew him.
He is survived by his four children, Jeffrey P. and Debra J. Connor, who cared for Dick in their home over the past three years, Deborah A. Connor and Catherine Lynch, Karen L. and Daniel F. Smith and Kevin G. and Laurie B. Connor, all of Pittsfield; 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren; his brother, Fred and Betty Connor of Hendersonville, Tenn.; his two sisters, Ann Cimini of East Longmeadow and Mary Hepworth of Syracuse, N.Y., and his beloved companion for the past 27 years, Rita T. Paysan, formerly of Lenox, and now of Palm Harbor, Fla.
He was predeceased by his wife, Lorraine S. Rauscher Connor Eastwood, who died July 20, 1987; by his brother, Harold (Josh) Connor, and by two sisters, Joan Mohlman and Clare Mathews.
FUNERAL NOTICE: Connor, Richard P., age 94, died June 18. Calling hours at the DEVANNY-CONDRON FUNERAL HOME will be today, Friday, 4 to 7 p.m. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 10:15 a.m. from the funeral home, followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. at St. Charles Church with the Rev. A. Peter Gregory, pastor, officiating. Burial will follow in St. Joseph's Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to HospiceCare of the Berkshires in care of the funeral home.
The family would especially like to thank the following HospiceCare employees for the wonderful care provided to their father: Becky, Rachel, Billie Jo, Marion, Katie, Erica, Laurie, and Hope. A very special Thank You to our brother, Jeffrey, and his wife, Debra, for their unwavering love and care for our Father. We will be forever grateful to them.
Devanny Condron Funeral Home
40 Maplewood Avenue Pittsfield, MA 01201
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on June 20, 2014