Francis J. O'Connor, 89, passed away on March 7, at St. John's Hospice in Dublin, Ireland, surrounded by family.
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He was born in Dorchester, Mass., Dec. 12, 1924 to Daniel and Honora O'Connor and was educated in the Boston area, graduating from Tufts Medical School in 1951.
He served honorably in World War II, achieving the rank of staff sargent in the 75th infantry, participating in the Battle of the Bulge, the liberations of Colmar, France; Roermand, Holland; and campaigns in the Rhine and Rhur valleys. He was decorated for bravery and earned two Bronze Stars with Oak leaf clusters, and the Silver Star.
In 1955 he moved to Augusta, where he became chief radiologist at the Augusta General Hospital, the Augusta state hospital (AMHI) as well as the Togus VA hospital through 1981.
He is survived by his wife Naomi (Kidney) O'Connor, and all of his children (12) and stepchildren (12) and their respective families:
Robert O'Connor, South China, Maine, Jean, of Sumter, S.C., George, of Vassalboro, Maine, Chuck, St. College, Pa., Joseph, of Washington, D.C., Claire Dietsche, of Rouses Point, N.Y., Jane, of Washington, D.C., Sue, of Big Sky, Mont., Jo, in Kennebunkport, Maine, Helen Durgin, of Winfield, W.V., Mari-anne Blume, of Woodbridge, Va., and Mickey in San Pedro, Calif.
Also, Anthony Kidney, of Dublin, Ireland, Barbara McKensie, of Dublin, Maria Kidney, of Vancover, Anna, of Toronto, Peter, of Dublin, Paul, of Dublin, Joseph, of Belfast, Naomi Jr., of Dublin, Robert, of Dublin, Louise, of Dublin, and Isabel Kidney, also in Dublin.
Also survived by his first wife Barbara Murray, of Winthrop, 22 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren.
"Okie" as he was affectionately called, had a marked influence in the greater community. He served as president of the Augusta Rotary Club, was instrumental in acquiring land for the Augusta Nature Center, taught elementary science classes, and was one of the first Citizens of the Year honored by Le Club Calumet in the 1970s. His passion for basketball led him to coach the original UMA team, as well as conduct basketball clinics here and abroad. He served as camp doctor for the Outward Bound School at Hurricane Island and Camp Grayleg.
Among his medical affiliations - fellow of the American College of Radiology, fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (London) and a member of Faculty of Radiologists for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Okie had a lifelong passion for learning and healing, and through teaching and example passed these attributes to all he came in contact with.
Many thanks for the great care and compassion by the Kidney family in Okie's final years. Services were held in Dublin, Ireland on Tuesday, March 11.
Published in Kennebec Journal on Apr. 1, 2014