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Thomas Joseph O'Connor
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Obituary for Thomas Joseph O'Connor

Thomas Joseph O’Connor, CAPT, SC, USN (Retired), died on 3 September 2018 at his home in Springfield, Virginia of acute heart failure. He was 92 years old and he was attended by his loving wife of 68 years, Alice.
Tom O’Connor was born in St. Joseph, Missouri on June 11, 1926, the son of Thomas Bernard O’Connor and Mary Catherine (Renner) O’Connor. He spent his early years in Kansas City, Missouri, graduating with honors as valedictorian of his Rockhurst High School class in 1943. He attended one year at Rockhurst College before receiving an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD from then Senator Harry S. Truman in July 1944. As a member of the last Naval Academy 3-year class, Tom graduated with academic distinction in June 1947 (USNA Class of 1948A). He received his commission in the Navy Supply Corps and initial training as a Navy Supply Officer at the Navy Supply Corps School in Bayonne, New Jersey (July 1947 – April 1948). His naval career included afloat duty on board the USS PERKINS (DDR 877) from 1948 to 1950 and later as commissioning Supply Officer (at Boston Naval Shipyard) on the guided missile cruiser USS PROVIDENCE (CLG 6) from 1959 to 1961, which became the first guided missile cruiser to join the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet. Shore assignments included instructor duty in the Department of Marine Engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy (1950-1953), Assistant Supply and Fiscal Officer, Naval Station, San Juan, Puerto Rico (1953-1954), inventory control point duties at the General Stores Supply Office, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1956-1959), Navy Stock Fund Manager at the Navy Bureau of Supplies and Accounts in Washington, D.C. (1965-1969), Executive Officer at the Electronics Supply Office in Great Lakes, Illinois (1969-1972) and as Comptroller at the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. (1972-1974). Tom received graduate degrees in Business from Harvard University (MBA 1956) and Stanford University (PhD 1965).
Tom retired from active duty in the Navy after 27 years of service at the rank of Captain (O-6) on April 30, 1974. He then moved on to his second career with the government in the Senior Executive Service with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. directing HUD’s department-wide finance and accounting operations. After 8 years at HUD (1974-1982) and having taught graduate level business courses as an adjunct professor at several universities and military colleges, including Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois and at George Washington University, The American University and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C., he pursued a third career in academia. In 1982 he took a position at The American University in Washington, D.C. directing a graduate public financial management program and later as Associate Professor in AU’s Kogod College of Business Administration. During his 16 years teaching graduate business students he also served as acting Dean of the Business School (1989-1990) and Associate Dean for graduate programs of the Business School (1990-1993). He retired from his professorial duties at AU in 1998 after 54 consecutive years of full-time employment history.
Tom was the last surviving child of Thomas and Mary O’Connor of Kansas City, Missouri, having been pre-deceased by his parents, his two brothers, Robert O’Connor and John O’Connor and his sister Kathleen Mathews. Tom is survived by his wife of 68 years, the former Alice Winnifred O’Laughlin of White Plains, New York (married April 15, 1950 in White Plains, NY) and their 9 children (all college graduates): Carol Ann Garrett of Roanoke, VA; CAPT Thomas J. O’Connor, Jr. USN (Ret.) of Chantilly, VA; Patrick M. O’Connor of Burlington, VT; Kathleen Sultze of Moneta, VA; Maryalice Walsh of Glen Allen, VA; Lawrence J. O’Connor of Alexandria, VA; Diane Elder of Annapolis, MD; Stephen F. O’Connor of Sherman Oaks, CA; and Daniel J. O’Connor of Chapel Hill, NC and 23 grandchildren and 1 great grandson. Tom and his wife Alice resided in the Hayfield subdivision of Alexandria, VA in Fairfax County for over 50 years (since 1965) until they recently relocated in 2018 to the Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield, VA.
Tom was an original homeowner in the Hayfield Farm community of Alexandria, VA and was very active in the early establishment of its Hayfield Citizens Association, serving as its president in 1987-1988. He was the Republican Party candidate for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for Lee District in 1983. He was a member of the Association of Government Accountants and the American Society of Military Comptrollers as well as the International Consortium on Government Financial Management. He and his wife Alice have been long-time members of the Little Theatre of Alexandria and Tom was an active member of its Board of Financial Trustees. During his tenure with American University’s School of Business he also served as a member of the Visitation Committee of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. He was a lifetime member of the Military Officers Association of America (Mount Vernon, VA chapter) and an active member of Saint Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church parish in Alexandria, VA, serving as a Lector and member of the Knights of Columbus.
Tom was an avid sports fan throughout his life, with all of his children’s and grandchildren’s youth and collegiate sports activities. And as a Blue and Gold member of the Naval Academy’s football program he managed to attend nearly all of Navy’s home football games in Annapolis with family and friends for over 30 years. He will be remembered fondly through countless memories of events over a life well-lived for his gentle nature, sincere friendship, genuine kindness, integrity, quiet leadership, and service to country. But mostly for the loving parent and devoted husband that he truly was.

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Previous Events





6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Jefferson Funeral Chapel

5755 Castlewellan Drive
Alexandria, VA 22315





11:00 AM
St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic church

6222 Franconia Road
Alexandria, VA 22310

Cemetery Details


Arlington National Cemetery

1 Memorial Drive
Arlington, VA 22211


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