Joseph M. O’Connor, 87, of Pennington, formerly of Union, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, February 23.
Born in Newark to Dr. Michael and Lillian (Young) O’Connor, Joe attended Blessed Sacrament Grammar School in Newark and Xavier High School in New York City. Upon graduation from St. Benedict’s Prep, Joe enlisted in the Army Air Corp and served as a tail gunner during World War II in the Pacific.
After the war, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Seton Hall and a Masters Degree from Stevens Institute of Technology. And most importantly, in 1949, married the love of his life, Marion Kohaut. Together they lived in Harrison and East Orange before settling in Union in 1961.
Joe spent his entire career as a research chemist with CIBA-Geigy (now Novartis), first in Summit, NJ, and later in Suffern, NY. In 1980, he was sent on an exchange program and worked for 3 months at the company headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. He was an active member of the New York Academy of Science and the American Chemical Society (ACS). Shortly after his retirement, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the North Jersey Section of the ACS.
He was a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus Council 4504 in Union and a lifetime member of the American Legion.
He was an active member of St. Michaels Parish for many years and, when his son was younger, was an Assistant Scout Master with Boy Scout Troop 69 and a member of the District Committee.
Predeceased by his parents and his brother Rev. John F.X. O’Connor, Joe is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marion, his son Paul and his fiancé Kathy of Chatham, and his daughter Kathleen Dallessio and her husband Tom, of Hopewell, and one grandson, Jack.