Brian Fissell O’Connor, 80, of Summit, NJ, renowned world traveler and self-described “Last of the Big Spenders,” passed away peacefully on November 4, 2020. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Church, 85 Washington Ave., Chatham on Monday, November 9th at 10am. Interment is private. Relatives and friends are invited to visit at Wm. A. Bradley & Son Funeral Home, 345 Main St. in Chatham on Sunday from 2 to 5pm.
Born and raised in Newark, NJ, the son of Paul and Katherine (Fissell) O’Connor, Brian graduated from St. Benedicts Prep in 1958. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1962 and served his country in the U.S. Army. Brian began his career in Medical Sales with Warner Lambert and later retired as the Western Regional Sales Manager for Biotest Corp. He was a member of the New York Athletic Club and the Notre Dame Alumni Association. Brian’s interests included garish Hawaiian shirts, cooking, military naval history and gossip. However, his true passions were his beloved Fighting Irish, the offerings at Trader Joe’s, and, for reasons unknown even to those closest to him, cheap Pinot Grigio.
Brian’s ability to escape trouble is legendary. Before moving back to the East Coast after retirement, Brian lived in Southern California for many years. He was often seen there in the company of very beautiful women who were no doubt pursuing him only for his money, which, to their dismay, he held onto with an iron grip. He somehow always managed to evade their clutches. On May 25, 1979, Brian cheated death when he narrowly missed a flight out of Chicago bound for Los Angeles. As he stood in the terminal trying to get on the next flight home, the plane he was supposed to be on crashed during takeoff and all 250+ passengers were killed. That’s a true story, folks; google it.
Brian is survived by his loving family: brother Paul O’Connor, Jr. (Elizabeth) and his nieces and nephews, Billy O’Connor (Jennifer), Jill Bushnell (Max), Kimberly Stuermann (Andreas), Sharon Cote (Charlie), Gerald O’Connor, Katie Zeidler (Ben), Karen Sullivan (Joe), Paul O’Connor (Maggie) and Christopher O’Connor (Jenny). He is predeceased by his brothers, Gerald Brenner O’Connor (Patricia) and William Fissell O’Connor (Wendy).
In lieu of flowers, donations in Brian’s memory may be made to your favorite charity. Mourners will be comforted to know that Brian’s close friends Donna Shivers and Kathleen Burns have started a massive fundraising effort to retire his bar stool at Marco Polo restaurant in Summit.