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First Name: John

Last Name: O'Connor

Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Date of Birth: 15 January 1920

Date of Death: 03 May 2000

Rank or Rate: Rear Admiral

Years Served:
John O’Connor

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


John O'Connor
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Chaplain)

John O'Connor was born on 15 January 1920 in Philadelphia, PA, one of five children.

O'Connor graduated from West Catholic High School operated by the Christian Brothers. Ordained a priest on 15 December 1945, his first assignment was to St James High School in Chester, PA. He continued work on advanced degrees; first a Master's in Advanced Ethics from Villanova University and a Doctorate at Georgetown in Political Science.

He joined the U.S. Navy in 1952 in response to a call for more chaplains during the Korean War. When he retired 27 years later, he had risen to Rear Admiral and was Chief of Navy Chaplains.

After retirement from the Navy, he was assigned to the Scranton, PA, area where he became a bishop. In January of 1984, he was named to succeed New York's Terence Cardinal Cooke, who had died. He was elevated to Cardinal 18 months later. Diagnosed with brain cancer and even during the terminal stage, Cardinal O'Connor continued to conduct Mass and execute his duties as head of the archdiocese of New York. He died in the early evening in his small bedroom at his residence in the rear of St Patrick's in Manhattan. With him were family members and close friends from the clergy.

Four days of farewell was undertaken at St. Patrick's Cathedral culminating in a 40-minute service attended by 3,500 mourners. In attendance, President Bill and Hilary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and nearby sat the two George Bushes with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The Mass opened with a procession of 1,000 of O'Connor's fellow clergy. At the end of the service, O'Connor's dark wood casket was carried down a narrow staircase beneath the altar, where all previous archbishops of New York are buried.  

Death and Burial

Rear Admiral John O'Connor died on 3 May 2000. He is buried at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, NY.

Honoree ID: 2915   Created by: MHOH




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