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O'Conner, William Terrell "Terry" - Marion  
William Terrell "Terry" O'Conner MARION - William Terry O'Connor, 66, died Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at MUSC after an extended illness. Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, December 22, 2014 at the Catholic Church of the Infant Jesus in Marion. Burial with full military honors will follow at Palmetto Memorial Gardens directed by Richardson Funeral Home. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service from 10:00-11:00 am at the Church Fellowship Hall. William Terry O'Connor was born in Asheville, North Carolina on April 10, 1948. He traveled extensively growing up with parents employed by the Department of Defense. He graduated from William T. Sampson High School in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1966. After graduation from Clemson University with (2) years of ROTC, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After Completion of Engineer School, he joined the 2nd Marine Division where he deployed extensively until being transferred to Head Quarters, Fleet Marine Forces Atlanta. In December 1973, he transferred to the United States Marine Corps Reserve inactive duty. On February 20, 1975, he joined the South Carolina Army National Guard and was assigned as a Tank Platoon Leader in Company A, Myrtle Beach, SC and was assigned to various successful positions of increasing responsibility, from Engineer Officer in the USMC to M1A1 Tank Battalion Commander in the SCARNG. Chief O'Connor advanced through every command and staff position as an Armor to Lieutenant Colonel and was his appointment as a Personnel Warrant Officer in 1998. His career includes experience as a Mobilization Planner for the Headquarters, State Area Command and, in his current capacity, as a Military Personnel Technician in the Joint Force Headquarters. As part of the Palmetto State Task Force, Chief O'Connor was commended by the Fort Riley Commander for his outstanding support of the 218th HSB in the planning, preparation, and execution of their National Training Center Rotation in 2000. Chief O'Connor was mobilized with Task Force 218 at Fort Jackson in support of Operation Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom, from 2003-2004. Since 2005, Chief O'Connor served in the SCARNG Family Program Office; where he helped develop and execute a new comprehensive reintegration program called "The Road Home". This is the first such program for the SCARNG and one of the first in the US Army. He served as the SCARNG's "point man" in educating the Families, service providers, community leaders, and public on the effects of combat operational stress and the reintegration needs of Soldiers returning from combat. He worked tirelessly to coordinate support, resources, and commitments of assistance for the reintegration program from many volunteer groups, veterans' service organizations, and government agencies. The program he helped develop and implement has been instrumental in helping SCARNG Soldiers and Families to successfully return to their Family, work, school, and community life after deployment. Upon his retirement from the South Carolina Army National Guard he became a contractor in the National Guard Family Programs and started working for South Carolina National Guard Youth Camps and remained committed to that effort and helped initiate the prelude to Yellow Ribbon in South Carolina called "The Road Home". He stayed in that position, until he became a Yellow Ribbon Contractor. He is married to the former Ms. Georgia Adele Tolson. He is the proud father of two children and one step-son: His daughter Shannon Graham and her husband, Ryan; his son, William Edward O'Connor and his wife, Tamatha Hunt O'Connor; one step-son, Ronnie Wright of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and grandfather to 4 precious grandchildren. The Legion of Merit was awarded to Chief Warrant Officer Three William T. O'Connor for exceptional meritorious service during a 38 year career in the United States Marine Corps and the South Carolina Army National Guard. During his distinguished career Chief O'Connor was assigned to various successful positions of increasing responsibility, from Engineer Officer in the USMC to M1A1 Tank Battalion Commander in the SCARNG. Chief O'Connor enlisted in the USMC in 1970 and subsequently completed OCS to remain in the Marine Corps until joining the SCARNG in 1975. Chief O'Connor served for 21 outstanding years as a faithful member of the 1Bn 263d Armor, headquartered in Mullins, SC. In 1990 he, then Major O'Connor, was ordered to active duty with the 1-263d AR in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Chief O'Connor advanced through every command and staff position as an Armor Officer until his appointment as a Personnel Warrant Officer in 1998. His career includes experience as a Mobilization Planner for the Headquarters, State Area Command and, in his current capacity, as a Military Personnel Technician in the Joint Force Headquarters. As part of the Palmetto State Task Force, Chief O'Connor was commended by the Fort Riley Commander for his outstanding support of the 218th HSB in the planning, preparation, and execution of their National Training Center Rotation in 2000. Chief O'Connor was mobilized with Task Force 218 HSB at Fort Jackson in support of Operation Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom from 2003-2004. Since 2005, Chief O'Connor served in the comprehensive reintegration program called "The Road Home". This is the first such program for the SCARNG's point man in educating the Families to successfully return to their Family, work, school, and community life after deployment. Chief O'Connor is a shining example of the citizen-soldier and exemplifies the values treasured by all who serve in the United States Armed Forces. His distinguished achievements and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, the United States Marine Corps, the South Carolina National Guard, and the United States Army. Mr. O'Connor was also the Founder and Executive Director of Trinity Behavioral Care in Marion. He was also founder of the Halfway House in Marion. In 2010 the Behavioral Health Services Association of South Carolina recognized Mr. O'Connor for his outstanding service in the field. He was also awarded a South Carolina Senate Resolution for both his Military Service and Behavior Treatment Services to the citizens of the state. An online register is available at RichardsonFH.net . In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Catholic Church of the Infant Jesus, 4534 North Hwy. 501, Marion, SC 29571.
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Published in The State on Dec. 20, 2014
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