Donald Gene “Joe” O’Connor, 93, of Baldwin City, Kansas, passed away Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, at Vintage Park of Baldwin.
Memorial services will be 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, at Wilson’s Funeral Home in Wellsville with visitation at 1 p.m., prior to services. Interment of cremains will follow services in the Wellsville Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Vintage Park of Baldwin City or Good Shepard Hospice in care of Wilson’s, PO Box 486, Wellsville, KS 66092.
Donald Gene “Joe” O’Connor was born Dec. 7, 1926, in rural Wellsville, Kansas, the son of Charles W. and Clara (Barnett) O’Connor. He grew up in rural Wellsville and attended Central school. On April 4, 1945, Joe joined the United States Army. He served during WWII in the 11th Airborne Division, earning the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal and the Qualified Paratrooper Wings. He was honorably discharged on Dec. 14, 1946.
On Jan. 6, 1949, Joe married Beverly J. Seyler. They were married 48 years before her passing in 1997.
Joe worked for the Sunflower Army Ammunition plant, was a delivery driver for East Kansas Chemical, was a house mover with T.J. Bivins, and worked as a heavy equipment operator building power lines. On Nov. 21, 1998, he married Elizabeth Thurman. They were married 20 years before her passing in 2019. He was a member of the IBEW Local 304 Labor Union and the Wellsville Masonic Lodge. He enjoyed farming, travelling, spending time with his family and friends, watching his favorite TV shows, loved the Kansas City Chiefs and knew how to enjoy a good meal.
Joe is survived by his daughter, Karen Redinger, of Baldwin City, Kansas; son, Ron (Debbie) O’Connor. of Baldwin City, Kansas; son, Kenny (Odree) O’Connor, of Ottawa, Kansas; son, Mike LaRue, of Delray Beach, Florida; daughter, Michele (Tom) Parkin, of Pomona, Kansas; son, David Thurman, of Boynton Beach, Florida; sisters, Louise O’Neill, of Williamsburg, Kansas, and Patty (John) Watts, of Ottawa, Kansas; 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wives, three brothers, Ralph, Charles, and Wayne, and two sisters, Chloris and Shirley.