Deacon Gerard R. O'Connor

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O'Connor, Deacon Gerard R. CLIFTON PARK Deacon Gerard (Jerry) R. O'Connor, 85, passed away on Sunday morning, January 13, 2013 at Schuyler Ridge Nursing Home. Born in Schenec-tady, N.Y on July 2, 1927, he was the son of the late Myles and Mary (Galarneau) O'Connor. He was born on Emmett Street and then moved to State Street in Schenectady. In the early 1930's, Jerry started banjo lessons and developed a lifelong love of entertaining family and friends with music and corny jokes. He completed his entire elementary and secondary education at St. Columba's School on Craig Street in Schenectady, graduating from St. Columba's High School in 1945. As part of the greatest generation, he enlisted in the US Navy and served during World War II, receiving an honorable discharge in 1946. Jerry graduated from the Albany College of Pharmacy in 1951, achieving the first bachelor's degree in his family. He married his devoted wife, Corrine Caggiano of Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 16, 1953 and settled in Schenectady. Jerry worked very hard his entire life as a pharmacist, pharmaceutical sales representative and manager at E.R. Squibb & Sons, and in 1970 he opened his own business, Jerry O'Connor's Saugerties Pharmacy. Later, he continued his professional employment at Bongartz Pharmacy in Kingston, N.Y. and then at the Baptist Home of Brooklyn in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Jerry loved his Catholic faith and demonstrated constant commitment to living out the Gospel message of love. He and his wife, Corrine, raised seven children; they sacrificed new cars and vacations to send all seven children to private Catholic schools. On February 11, 1978, Jerry was ordained a Roman Catholic Deacon at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. With the support of his wife, Corrine, they began a ministry that extended from the Amazing Grace Charismatic Prayer Group at St. Mary of the Snow in Saugerties, N.Y. to the Center of Jesus the Lord, a Catholic Charismatic Retreat Center in New Orleans, LA., in their so-called retirement years. They returned to the Capital Region in 1998, where he accepted the position of director of Pastoral Care at Albany County Nursing Home, retiring in 2004. As his health declined, he moved into the Schuyler Ridge Nursing Home where he continued to minister to other residents by facilitating a weekly bible study and assisting at liturgies and bedside vigils. Jerry will be remembered for his compassion, sense of humor, and love of his family. He once stated that one of his proudest accomplishments was that all seven of his children still speak to one another. In addition to his beloved wife, Corrine; he was the loving father of Jeanne McDonald (Dennis) of Clifton Park, Suzanne (Scott) of Albany, Paul (Elizabeth) of Virginia Beach, Va., James (Cynthia) of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., Nancy of Albany, Brian (Lisa) of Rexford and Peter (Pamela) of Rexford; loving grandfather of Christine Fitzgerald (Brian) of Kinderhook, N.Y.; Macie of Virginia Beach, Va.; Rosemary, Alexander, Anna and Grace of Hopewell Junction, N.Y.; Calvin and Samuel of Rexford, N.Y.; Joshua, Daniel and Theodore of Rexford, N.Y. He was predeceased by his brothers, Norman and Edmund, to whom he was very devoted. The family extends its deepest appreciation to the staff at Schuyler Ridge Nursing Home who patiently and attentively cared for him for almost five years and to Hospice of Saratoga County who provided additional loving attention in his last few months. Funeral will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 17 at St. Edward the Confessor Church, 569 Clifton Park Center Road, Clifton Park, N.Y., where the Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated. Relatives and friends are invited to call on Wednesday, January 16 from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. also at St. Edward the Confessor Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions in Jerry's memory be made to John A. Coleman Catholic High School (430 Hurley Avenue, Hurley, NY 12443) or Equinox, Inc. (95 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12206), a local agency that supports those with mental illness. Arrangements have been entrusted by the family to the Gordon C. Emerick Funeral Home 1550 Rt. 9, Clifton Park, NY 12065.

Published in Albany Times Union from Jan. 15 to Jan. 16, 2013
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