Richard Brooks O’Connor, the son of Richard J. and Emma Brooks O’Connor, was born on September 9, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri. He died peacefully in his home shortly before dawn on October 7th, 2015. He was 86 years old.
Dick attended Wentworth Military Academy, Westminster College and The University of Missouri where in 1958, he received an Artium Baccalaureus with distinction in Psychology.
Dick joined the Navy for the sole purpose of becoming a pilot. He received his wings in 1955 and was immediately selected to serve as one of 14 members of Fighter Squadron VF-11, the Red Rippers, the Navy’s oldest continuously active fighter squadron. He served on the USS Coral Sea.
While stationed at NAS Glynco, Georgia in 1967, Dick was called to Washington DC where he was asked if he would serve as a pilot for Air America. He spent the next 7 ½ years in Vietnam and Laos flying for the CIA.
After surviving many dangerous missions, he returned to the United States and enrolled at Oklahoma City University School of Law where he finished the work started at Southern Methodist University in order to obtain a Juris Doctor degree. He opened his law office which specialized in aviation law. Dick loved spending retirement time at his home in Santa Fe, NM, where worked on his book, Literary Moral Philosophy.
Possessing an insatiable curiosity, Dick was a prolific reader of all subject matter from philosophy to history to Larry McMurtry. He was not only knowledgeable in a broad range of topics but had the rare ability to discuss them interestingly and pleasantly with others regardless of their expertise or lack thereof. In addition to his love of flying, books and music, especially Jazz, were passions which led to extensive collections of both. Dick also was an avid sailor and loved driving imported sports cars… way too fast.
Dick will be loved and remembered by his wife, Judith Kraft O’Connor, his children: Kevin (Kathy) O’Connor, Sean (Buddy) Albro, Kerry (David) Christensen, Courtney Winfield, Christopher (Robin) Woll and Tracy (Chris) Martin; his grandchildren: Padraic and Aidan O’Connor, Brian and Margaret Wolfe, Taryn and Keenan Christensen , Avery, Aidan and Maura Winfield, Lauren and Margot Woll, Christian and Stuart Martin and his great-grandchildren: David, Stephen, Barbara and Connor Wolfe.
Burial with full military honors will take place at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
Dick and I were blessed by and grateful for family, friends, and very special caregivers who loved and supported us on this journey …..he is missed.