Allan O'Connor
1928 - 2021
BORN
1928
DIED
2021
Allan O'Connor, a Bishop-based architect who had a large impact on the development of Mammoth and the Owens Valley over the course of several decades, died of natural causes at the Hospice of Wichita Falls on Tuesday, October 5. He was 92.
O'Connor was born in east Los Angeles on October 29, 1928, the second of four children born to Allan James O'Connor and Charlotte Passino O'Connor. He left home at the age of 14, and enlisted in the US Navy in 1944 at age 16. Following the war, with a GED and GI Bill in hand, O'Connor attended several universities in Arizona and New Mexico, ultimately earning his BA in commercial art from the University of New Mexico in 1951. At UNM, he was affiliated with the Sigma Chi fraternity.
Returning to California in 1952, O'Connor worked as a commercial artist and draftsman for construction projects, which kindled his interest in architecture. In 1960, he apprenticed to architect Norm Peterson in Bishop. In 1972, he passed the California state architectural licensing exams and was admitted to the American Institute of Architects.
Over the next 40 years, his work left a mark – first locally, and then more widely. Between 1953 and 1989, he (and later, his Bishop-based firm, O'Connor and Associates) designed hospitals, banks, churches, tribal and government buildings, and private homes throughout eastern California. Lone Pine's distinctive western look is the result of architectural appearance standards he created in the 1970s. He also designed the town's hospital and community center. As the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and the town of Mammoth Lakes grew from the 1950s onward, O'Connor designed the first set of lodge buildings and guided the development of the mountain's layout; and also provided master planning for the town itself. This work led to other ski area planning and design projects at Vail, CO; Brian Head, UT; and Whistler, BC. The government of France also invited his consultation on their ski areas in the Alps.
In 1987, O'Connor moved to Los Angeles to join the Home Savings of America as the Vice President of Project Management, specializing in public-private design/build projects. Over the next three decades, he worked on a wide range of planning and construction projects in both Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area – including the 10-story Nicholas Petris CalTrans Headquarters building in Oakland, CA, for which he was the primary construction manager; and the initial site planning for Disney's California Adventure theme park. He served on the board of the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, and oversaw the 1990s restoration of the century-old cathedral building.
O'Connor and his wife Cindy retired to Lawton, OK in 2010. His final project was a pro bono design for the recent remodel of the Lawton YMCA building.
He is survived by his wife, Lucinda Shaw O'Connor, of Lawton; children Michael O'Connor of Cupertino, CA and Maureen O'Connor of San Diego, CA; stepchildren Sara (Reeder) Robinson of Seattle, WA and Daniel Reeder of Big Pine, CA; and six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His first wife, Barbara (Davison) Reeder, lives in Bishop, CA.
Allan O'Connor will be remembered for his open, generous, encouraging, and relentlessly optimistic and kind spirit; and his unique gift for bringing together people from a wide range of backgrounds and interests together to create complex, long-range plans that met most of their needs. His skills as an empathetic listener and an innovator of bold, counterintuitive solutions – combined with his unfailing sense of humor – were the qualities most cherished both by his clients, and by the members of his large and motley family.
A graveside internment ceremony will be held Thursday, October 14, at 1 p.m. at Mt. Whitney Cemetery in Lone Pine, CA. The family requests that donations in Allan O'Connor's memory be directed to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, 250 N. Fowler St, Bishop, CA. (eslt.org).
Published by Inyo Register on Oct. 14, 2021.
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MEMORIAL EVENTS
Oct
14
Graveside service
1:00p.m.
Mt. Whitney Cemetery
Lone Pine, CA
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My late husband Ron and I had the wonderful privilege of being friends with Allan and Cindy for 50 years and we spent time enjoying the Owens Valley. Allan was the most generous and kind person to us and we will cherish the memories. Rest in peace, dear friend.
Sue Olofson
Friend
October 14, 2021
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