New London - Florence (Pearson) O'Connor, born on Nov. 14, 1930, passed away peacefully in the presence of her family on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, at 81 years old. She was a lifelong resident of the New London, a city she loved so much.
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As the daughter of the late Ernest and Emma (Latham) Pearson, Florence was a direct descendent of Captain William Latham who lost his life during the Revolutionary War in the Burning of New London in 1781. Florence graduated from the Williams Memorial Institute (WMI) in 1948.
She entered into holy matrimony at St. Joseph's Church on Sept. 18, 1954, with the now late John "Jack" M. O'Connor, New London fire fighter, who predeceased her as a result of the fateful Truman Street Fire on Feb. 1, 1993.
She retired from Pfizer in 1994 after a 20 year career in the Human Resources Department. She will be well remembered for administering typing tests to potential new administrative assistants as well as for helping colleagues sort through the myriad of their benefits options. She was an active member of the Pfizer Players performing in such shows as "Oklahoma" and "Brigadoon" and she loved belting out a show tune whenever the opportunity arose.
A very community-minded and active woman, Florence was a gifted fundraiser and worked tirelessly raising money for multiple chartities, including the New London Auxiliary of Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, for whom she served as the president for several years. She organized multiple Holiday House Tours, elegant high-teas at Lighthouse Inn and several theme-based child-focused events held at Ocean Beach. People could not refuse her vibrant enthusiasm or requests for support.
She spent her summers on Guthrie Beach from the time she was a teenager through her eighties. She served several years as secretary to the Guthrie Beach Association and nothing pleased her more than to know that her children and grandchildren inherited her love for the beach that she cherished. To this day, they still sit in "her" spot.
Florence was a dedicated grandmother, nothing was more important to her than her grandchildren whom she loved so very much. She was also so very fond of and welcomed even their friends and the children of her neighborhood - everyone was welcomed and loved by her. She baked a pan of cookies every single day, so she would have a special treat when they dropped by.
Florence lived a very happy life which was evidenced by the joy she took in her family, her community work and her singing. She is survived by her devoted companion, Frederic Nazro; sons, Daniel and his wife, Therese (Galliher), Dennis Sr. and his wife, Suzanne (Oliver); daughter, Janet (O'Connor) Theiler and her husband, Michael; grandchildren, Jennifer Galliher-Bruce, Catherine and Samantha Gallant, Heather O'Connor, Catherine (O'Connor) Dodge and her husband, Christopher, Dennis O'Connor Jr. and his fiancÃ©e, Amanda Clewell, Jerry, Emma and Maria Theiler; great-grandchildren, Kenneth Bruce and Elizabeth O'Connor-Moon. Florence was greatly looking forward to the birth of her third great-grandchild on or about her 82nd birthday. Additionally, she is survived by her favorite niece, Grace Ann Chapman and her brothers, Bruce, Dudley, John and Frank; and Fred's children, Alan Murray, Robert Nazro, and Barbara Brigham and their families; as well as many friends and acquaintances.
The family wishes to express their immense gratitude toward the Brotherhood of the New London Firefighter's 1522. They faithfully kept a watchful eye over her after Jack's passing and showed her great support throughout her life.
Family and friends will be received at calling hours from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6, at the Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, Ocean Ave., New London. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at St. Joseph Church, Squire St., New London, followed by burial at St. Mary's Cemetery, Jefferson Ave., New London.
In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the John O'Connor Memorial Scholarship Fund, PO Box 969, New London, CT 06320 or to the New London Auxiliary of Child & Family Agency, 255 Hempstead St., New London, CT 06320.
Published in The Day on Aug. 5, 2012