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Charles O'Connor

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Charles O'Connor Obituary
O'CONNOR, CHARLES W. Charles William O'Connor entered eternal life February 1, 2013 at Connecticut Hospice on Double Beach in Branford, a building where he worked for years as general counsel for Echlin Mfg. He was 82 years old. He suffered lately from a leaky heart and received a terminal prognosis earlier this week. He leaves his wife, Mary Alice of New Haven as well as 9 children, 28 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. During a side trip on his August 1954 honeymoon to New York from Chicago, Charles visited New Haven for the first time, inspired from a scene from All About Eve. He was captivated about living in this nexus of learning and history. The opportunity came in 1972, after opting out from a corporate move to Georgia from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, he choose, rather, to plant his family in New Haven and looked for a job here. A fortuitous meeting with noted New Haven educator Richard Cavallero in the Old Heidelberg resulted in his securing the Geist house on Forest Road for his huge family. The former home of Col. Richard Gimbel of Gimbels Department Store had antique french tiles painted with era hot-air balloons here and there, a bomb shelter these transplanted midwesterners would mistakenly repair to during a hurricane, and five bathrooms. There was also a hole in the fence at the bottom of the hill that opened onto Yale Field. As legal counsel for Winchester Western and, later, Olin-Winchester, he and Mary Alice generously populated Westville and beyond with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and a world view. A devout Catholic dedicated to St. Mary's, he called himself a "true liberal" and applied himself to his duty to promote freedom in mind, body and soul as a citizen first by serving his country in the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star for injury in combat and later as a student of George Stigler and Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago, his mother's alma mater in Literature. He advocated for everything from tort reform to a better health care plan, noting that health care has systemic problems issuing from a "tax nirvana" of a WWII War Labor Board loophole whereby insurance benefits are neither taxable income for the employer nor employee alike. His war scars shared space with wounds from delivering papers on the South Side of Chicago after moving there with his family from Lawler, Iowa in 1943. Another war wound shaved away much of his hearing, blessing him with a placid fatherhood. His father was a baseball player called 'Yikes" who lost his left hand in an accident running a corn hopper in Fredricksburg, Iowa, south of New Hampton, in 1935 and colored the hopefulness of life that can begin with suffering rather end with it. Gerald Ford stepped on his bridge that popped out of his mouth during a meeting. Asked once while sporting a Yale sweatshirt featuring the motto "Lux" if he went to Yale, he replied, "No, but I use the soap." He also lived by the motto. Charles was member of the Knights of Columbus, Council One. His wife Mary Alice ne Killorin has graced his life with a family of faith as well as many children, Mark Aloysius, a policeman in Guilford who served New Haven for many years, Christopher Gerard, a contractor who made his casket, Kathleen Mary "Kitty" the only lawyer in the family living in Cambridge, MA, Peter Ignatius, who teaches at Portsmouth Abbey and in Rome, Fr. Andrew More, whom he called "father," Dr. Sheila Mary Frances, presently in Zagreb with her husband on a Fulbright, Molly Elizabeth who just had her seventh child, a girl, in Paraguay, Philip Xavier who delivers for UPS, Kiernan Aquinas, a financial analyst who can keep the whole story straight. Vigil: Please join the family at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church for a vigil from 6 to 8PM on Tuesday February 5th with vespers at 7pm. A reception will follow in the undercroft. Funeral Mass Morning viewing will begin at 8:45 AM in the church, followed by morning prayer at 9AM and a funeral mass at 10AM officiated by Fr. Andrew O'Connor of Holy Family Parish, Bronx, NY. Burial with full military honors will follow in St. Lawrence Cemetery. The IOVANNE FUNERAL HOME, INC. is in care of Mr. O'Connor's arrangements. Sign Mr. O'Connor's guest book online at www.iovanne.com.


Published in The New Haven Register on Feb. 4, 2013
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