Hornell / Dansville-James W. O’Connor of Dansville, New York, died peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
Jim was born on July 4th, 1938 in Hornell, NY during a spectacular fire work display to Gerald and Ruth (Donlon) O’Connor. He was a hell-raising graduate of St. Ann’s School, as well as, Hornell High School (class of 1957).
Following graduation, Jim enlisted in the US Army and served his country from 1957-1959 and again from 1961-1962 when duty called him to Greenland during the Berlin Crisis.
After his honorable military service, Jim began his career with the Erie Railroad, but saw the future was in construction and joined the apprenticeship with Local #13 Union. There, he successfully remained as a steam fitter for nearly 40 years until his retirement.
More enduring than his career was his loving 57 year marriage to the pretty lass, Mary Elizabeth Clancy. Married in 1961, they went on to raise eight talented and diverse children: Tracy O’Connor, Mary Christine O’Connor, Stephanie O’Connor, Timothy (Rachel) O’Connor, Daniel (Jessie) O’Connor, Kathryn (William) Shetler, Erin O’Connor, and Sara (Anthony Wensel) O’Connor. He is survived by his wife, eight children, ten adorable grandchildren: Michael, Marissa, Gabrielle, Madison, Allison, Samantha, Aiden, Sylvia, Ethan, and Colson (each claiming to be his favorite) and many delightful nieces and nephews. Additionally, he is survived by his in-laws: Edward “Ed” Clancy, Margaret “Peggy” Clancy, Richard (Barbara) Clancy.
He is preceded in death by his parents and four sisters: Catherine (Gerald) Quartz, Marie (Edward) Schane, Mary Ellen (Truman) Wheeler and Joanne (William) Rohan.
As family and friends reminisce, Jim will be remembered for his bright blue eyes and contagious smile; his Irish knack for humor and story-telling; his extensive knowledge of American and Native American History, and the affectionate nickname, Grumpy, given to him by his beloved grandchildren. He greatly enjoyed woodworking, creating and collecting folk art, and helping his children renovate their family homes. Above all, it will be his devotion to his family and faith that will define him.
Every year for over fifty years, his eight boisterous and energetic children always asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and his reply was always the same: “Peace and quiet!” Thus, after a long and valiant battle with cancer, Jim will be laid to rest in peace.
Funeral services are as follows: Calling hours will be on Sunday, February 16th from 2-4 pm at Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church St., Hornell, NY. A Memorial Mass will be held on Monday, February 17th, at 12 noon at St. Ann’s Church to be immediately followed by a graveside service with military honors at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to one of the following organization he held in esteem:
Special Olympics, Genesee Region for Livingston Country,1 Grove Street, Suite 216, Pittsford, New York 14534 (585) 586-7400 or to Merkel Cell Cancer Research Organization, University of Washington www.merkelcell.org.
In recognition of his military service, the American Flag at the Dagon Funeral Home will be flown at half-staff.
To leave an online condolence or share a memory, visit www.dagonfuneralhome.com.