Patrick O’Conner Obituary (1926 – 2022) – Red Hook, NY

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Patrick H O’Connor 95, a longtime resident of Red Hook, NY passed away peacefully on January 20 at home. Born July 19, 1926 in Detroit MI, he was the son of the late James and Eulela (Rush) O’Connor. He grew up in Birmingham MI, served in the Air Force during World War II, then graduated from Michigan State Normal College (Eastern Michigan University) in 1951. Pat met Sally Ann Mott when they were both teachers at Hoover High School in Flint, MI. They were married on June 13, 1953 at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Congers, NY. Sally Ann predeceased him on October 26, 2016. Pat had an assortment of careers and settled into his final career until his retirement in 1993 as a claims examiner for the NYS Department of Labor based in Kingston and Poughkeepsie NY. Pat was a faithful communicant of St Christopher’s Catholic Church in Red Hook, NY. His love of God and the Church was central to his life. The reception of the Holy Eucharist regularly supported him in his devout desire to live his life in the image of Christ. Pat has been involved in all areas of church life, from raising his children in the faith, to giving talks on Sundays, to altar serving daily Mass (affectionately known as the most former altar server of all time) and to be an active member of the Holy Name Society. He was a hard worker for over 40 years at the Holy Name Society’s monthly public breakfasts and Hard Scrabble and Apple Blossom fundraising projects. He has been a major contributor to the Holy Name’s Breads Plus program delivering food to families in need for over 20 years. He also worked for many years at St Christopher’s weekly bingo events. As a member of Knights of Columbus Saugerties Council 4536, Pat contributed as a worker to social events and fundraising projects for charitable causes and was well known among his fellow members for his sales abilities by draw. Pat believed in the sanctity of life and was very active in the Respect Life Organization. He reverently prayed for over 30 years to end abortion and devoted many hours of silent prayer and gentle counsel to young expectant mothers, encouraging them to choose life. He has attended the March for Life in Washington, DC every year. Pat was a loving, faithful and gentle husband, father and grandfather. He was known for his tender way of putting his children to bed while he told stories of his youth, sang songs, taught the rosary, and shared his knowledge of presidents, vice presidents, states, and capitals. He sincerely supported his children in all their educational, athletic and musical endeavors. For years he was a Little League coach and referee. One of Pat’s annual joys was traveling to Michigan for the O’Connor family reunion and meeting friends from high school and college on the trip. He rarely missed a year and in his later years, when he could no longer drive, the immediate family did everything possible to get him there. He continued to keep in touch with a few high school friends until his passing. Pat loved telling jokes! He earned his 15 minutes of fame with his stand-up comedy warm-up number at the Knights of Columbus comedy night. He had family members, caregivers and friends in stitches until the last weeks of his life. Pat took his health and wellness seriously and relished his Vita-Mix blender. He was known for making his own salad dressing, ketchup, nut milk, and smoothies. For years, he enjoyed a daily “morning cocktail” of apple cider vinegar, honey, and lemon juice. He was the epitome of health in that he took no medications throughout his life and had a strict vitamin regimen. He decried his doctor’s advice to follow an aspirin diet decades ago and lived to tell about it. Pat was a founding member of Red Hook Recreational Park (Red Hook Pool) and influential in realizing the dream of a public pool in Red Hook. He was a legendary swimmer and ahead of his time. With no lane lines in place in the early days, Pat was doing his 72 laps of the pool with his slow, steady pace in all types of weather. Children were known to swim above and below him like dolphins and lifeguards were known to keep the pool open if Mr O’Connor had yet to swim. Once Bard College added its pool, it swam regularly outside of the summer season. He was an avid walker and enjoyed being able to walk 4 miles in under an hour until he was 80. In addition to swimming and walking, he was a member of the Red Hook Golf League and the weekly bowling league. He is survived by his children, Stephanie (Bob) Drayn of Canandaigua, NY; Garret (Ann) of Foxboro, MA; Christopher of South Portland, ME; Brother Shawn CFR of Paterson NJ and Jane of Red Hook, NY with his 8 grandchildren Kayley (Patrick) Merrill, Kyle (Erin) O’Connor, Trevor (Renee) Drayn, Kristen Drayn, Jordan (Sylvia) O’Connor, Ryan, Jack and Alison O’Connor, 5 great-grandchildren, his siblings, Mary Dennison, Terrence O’Connor and Susan Kirkland as well as numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife, Pat was predeceased by his daughter Jennifer, who was stillborn, and siblings James, Marjorie Seery, Richard, Michael and Joseph. To know him was to love him and he was a perfect example of someone who lived his faith. He was known for setting an example of being a good Catholic gentleman. Many people commented that he was the best man they had ever known. The family expresses their greatest appreciation and gratitude to Hudson Valley Hospice and the multitude of caregivers who have supported Pat for many years. Friends can call Burnett and White Funeral Homes in Red Hook on Thursday, Jan. 27 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Christian Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 28 at St Christopher’s Catholic Church, Red Hook, NY. Interment will take place at a later date at St Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, Donations to the Red Hook Memorial may be made in Patrick’s memory at St Christopher’s Church, 7461 S. Broadway, Red Hook, NY 12571 or at the Community of Franciscan Friars of Renewal, General Steward, 421 E. 155th Street, Bronx, NY 10455. Arrangements are under the direction of Burnett & White Funeral Homes 7461 S. Broadway, Red Hook, NY. For directions, or to sign the guestbook online, please visit www.Burnett-White.com. https://www.lastingmemories.com/patrick-h-oconner

Published by the Daily Freeman from January 21 to January 23, 2022.

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