Richard O'Connor, OFM
1909 – 1983
Fr. Richard O’Connor, OFM, was born on March 15, 1909 in Oxford, N.Y. After attending St. Bonaventure College in Allegany, N.Y., he entered the Province’s novitiate Aug. 19, 1929, at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J.
He professed temporary vows Aug. 20, 1930, and made his profession of solemn vows Sept. 17, 1933. Fr. Richard was ordained a priest June 12, 1934.
As a simplex priest, he went to Germany and in 1935 began his graduate studies in philosophy and the Classics at the University of Bonn. World War II forced him to return to the United States where he was assigned to teach at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.
In 1943, Fr. Richard entered the United States Army as a chaplain, and served in General Patton’s famous Third Army. Near the end of the war, his fluency in German gained him an assignment to Nuremberg Prison, where he was chaplain to Nazi war criminals.
After the war, he taught at St. Bonaventure College and in 1949 became the guardian and lector at St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, N.Y. In 1953, Fr. Richard returned to Siena to teach philosophy. He served as vice-president of the college from 1956 to 1964. He did pastoral work on weekends at Our Lady of Grace in Ballston Lake for 10 years, and at Sacred Heart in Watervliet for six years. He loved caring for the Siena gardens until his death.
Fr. Richard died peacefully in his sleep at Siena on July 10, 1983. He was 74 years old, a professed friar for 52 years and a priest for 49 years.