Thomas O'Connor

Thomas J. O'Connor Jr.

January 1, 1934 - June 4, 2021
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Thomas J. O’Connor, Jr., 87, a 56-year resident of Chelmsford, MA, passed away peacefully surrounded by those he loved most on Friday, June 4th, 2021. He was the beloved husband of Helen (Beers) O’Connor, with whom he enjoyed 46 wonderful, enchanted years of marriage.

Tom spent his childhood in Worcester where he graduated from St. Peter’s High School in 1951. He received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (1961). He proudly served his country as a member of the US Army in the 82nd Airborne from 1954 to1956.

Tom was hired by AVCO/Textron Systems Corporation in 1961 and remained there for his entire career. Contributing to NASA’s Apollo missions was among Tom’s proudest professional accomplishments. He was well regarded for his expertise in his field, notably with Carbon-Carbon technology, and continued consulting for Textron after his retirement in 1998.

Tom and his wife Helen moved to Chelmsford in 1964, and made many lifelong friends in the community. He was an active member of St. Mary Parish until his passing, where he served as a CCD teacher and greeter for many years. He volunteered in numerous organizations, including the girl’s youth softball league. He was an accomplished bowler at Alpine Lanes and with his AVCO teammates. He found true enjoyment in being surrounded by family and friends and looked forward to O’Connor Clan summer vacations. His grandchildren adored him, and he taught them the importance of loyalty, integrity, dedication and how to appreciate the richness of life. He was the proudest Grampy at many events.

Tom was incredibly proud of his Irish heritage and cherished visits with relatives in Ireland. He loved spending time with family, sharing stories, traveling, singing, and dancing. He is remembered for his kindness, generosity, intelligence, wit and ability to make everyone feel welcome, valued and loved. He was a true romantic and history buff, and was adventurous and inquisitive about the world. If he had favorites among his children and grandchildren he never showed it, he loved each of them equally and without reservation. He celebrated their individual personalities and their unique natures, capabilities and achievements. He was a wonderful father, Grampy and Great-Grampy. His relationship with his brothers was special, and the stories he shared of their youth are priceless. He had a life well lived.

Tom is predeceased by his father Thomas J. O’Connor Sr. and mother Mary O’Connor, originally of Killorglin, County Kerry, Ireland; and his siblings Francis O’Connor (Jean), John O’Connor and Mary O’Connor. He is survived by his brother Walter O’Connor (Suzanne), sister-in-law Karen O’Connor, and cousin Rita Raczynski. Tom’s loving and devoted wife, Helen (Beers) O’Connor, passed away in 2008. He will be greatly missed by his children: Maryrose O’Connor, Kathleen O’Connor (Don DiBona), Thomas E. O’Connor (Laura), Julie Daly (Thomas), Patricia O'Connor-Kettlestrings (John), and John (Jack) O’Connor (Kelly). Cherished grandchildren include: Stephen (Natalie), Alicia, and Joseph Espinola; Shelagh, Tara and Alannah Daly; Aine and Kieran Knott; Alexandra and Olivia O’Connor; Paul and Sean Kettlestrings; and Charlotte and Molly O’Connor. He was incredibly proud to welcome his first great-grandchild, Teigan Espinola, in 2020. Tom also leaves behind extended family members, Jeffrey, Tracy, Kayla and Abbey Delaney, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He will be greatly missed by his dear friend, Helen Hanafin, and her family. He and Helen enjoyed ten wonderful years of companionship and adventure.

Visiting hours will be held on Thursday 4-7 PM at Blake Chelmsford Funeral Home, 24 Worthen Street, Chelmsford. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday at 11 AM at St. Mary Parish, 25 North Road, Chelmsford. KINDLY MEET AT THE CHURCH. Interment will follow at Pine Ridge Cemetery, 130 Billerica Road, Chelmsford. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Thomas’ name to the Jimmy Fund, ℅ Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445-7226. ATTN: Contribution Services.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    June 10, 2021 | 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    June 10, 2021 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    Blake Chelmsford Funeral Home
    24 Worthen Street
    Chelmsford, MA 01824
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    June 11, 2021 | 11:00am
    June 11, 2021 11:00am
    St. Mary Parish
    25 North Road
    Chelmsford, 01824
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    June 11, 2021 | 12:00pm
    June 11, 2021 12:00pm
    Pine Ridge Cemetery
    130 Billerica Road
    CHELMSFORD, MA 01824
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
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5 trees have been planted in memory of Thomas J. O'Connor Jr.

Steve Hanley

Posted at 09:21am
Dear Tom, Rose, Kathy, Julie, Patty and Jack...please accept our condolences during this difficult time for your family...your Dad will be missed.

3 trees were planted in the memory of Thomas O'Connor

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Grace Morse

Posted at 08:37pm
It was always a pleasure to be greeted by Tom at St. Mary’s.
I am sorry for the world’s loss of this good man. Condolences to all.

Grace Morse

Tricia Burke

Posted at 03:07pm
For the world's greatest neighbor from your friends across the street! Jim, Tricia, Jimmy and Meghan
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Thomas O'Connor — Plant a Tree Now

MRCA staff and friends

Posted at 12:28pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Thomas O'Connor — Plant a Tree Now

Susan Ayotte

Posted at 01:43pm
Rosie and All,
So sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. I will forever remember his welcoming smile and the way he made you feel like part of his family. He told many funny stories or a quick joke to get you laughing. You all were so very lucky to have him in your lives. You will be in my thoughts and prayer as you travel through this difficult time. Stay strong and be well! - Sue Ayotte

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