Howard O’Connor

September 17 | Posted by Jeff | The Leaky Land Blog

20050508 Grandpa with Howard OConnor at VE DayIt is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Howard O’Connor. We extend our condolences to his wife Hazel and his family members. Howard was well-known and respected throughout the community and he will be genuinely missed. Howard was a passionate supporter of our cause and made significant contributions to the fight against landfill expansion in Napanee.

Steve Medd was a good friend of Howard’s and we have included below a letter that he has written paying tribute to the memory of Howard.
Funeral arrangements are listed in the following obituary notice.

Steve Medd’s Letter:

On Sunday, September 15th Napanee lost a devoted and caring citizen when Howard O’Connor passed away eight days shy of his 93rd birthday. Howard had a long and illustrious life in which Hazel graced his side for 61 years. Their enduring, loving marriage was a thing of admiration for many of us “younger” folk.

My friendship with Howard grew out of his friendship with my Grandfather, Bruce Medd. Both were veterans of World War II. I heard many of the old war stories over a pint or two at the Napanee Legion Hall. The last picture taken of my Grandfather was with Howard and Bruce McPherson pushing my Grandfather in his wheelchair at the 2005 VE Day celebration in Conservation Park.

Many people are aware that Howard was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “valour, courage and devotion to duty” as an RAF pilot. He once told me the story behind how he came to receive the medal and I was riveted to my seat like I had just watched a Hollywood movie.

Others probably know that even in his 93rd year Howard was still flying an Aeronca Champ that I teasingly called a golf cart with wings. On a few occasions Howard invited me to go up with him. He told me that the payload was 250 lbs. When I informed him that I weighed 240 lbs, he speculated that if he cut back on the fuel and got the right head wind he should be able to get off the ground. Even a decorated WW II pilot couldn’t talk me into that offer !

Many people will also remember when Howard served as Napanee’s postmaster in the old Canada Post building and then during the early years of the new Post Office.

But for many of Howard’s friends, he will be remembered and respected as a fellow environmentalist in pursuit of the protection of the Napanee River and rural groundwater from massive landfilling. He inspired us. He motivated us. And he always reassured us that the cause was just and winnable.

God bless you Howard. We will all miss the familiar sound of your flying golf cart buzzing overhead on a golden day in September.

With deepest condolences to Hazel and the O’Connor family:

Stephen Bruce Medd
Greater Napanee

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