Skip to comments.Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor Has Passed Away
Posted on 09/01/2006 6:32:30 PM PDT by mcg2000
(KDKA) PITTSBURGH It's the news people in Pittsburgh and beyond have been dreading; this afternoon, Dick Skrinjar announced that Mayor Bob O'Connor has passed away.
O'Connor had been hospitalized since July 10th after learning that he suffered from a rare form of cancer called primary central nervous system lymphoma.
On Monday, doctors downgraded the mayor's condition after revealing that brain scans showed "seizure activity" and tests indicated an infection in his spinal fluid.
The hospital stopped issuing updates on Mayor O'Connor's condition on Tuesday, which fueled rumors and speculation about his deteriorating condition.
Sources told KDKA late Wednesday night that the mayor needed assistance breathing but was calm and peaceful.
On Thursday afternoon, City Councilman Doug Shields confirmed that Mayor O'Connor had been given the Sacrament of the Sick. "It's basically a blessing for the sick. It's a Sacrament for the ill," Shields explained. "Anybody that's in the Catholic faith knows that that Sacrament is administered to people routinely."
"I visited with the family," Councilman Shields added "The situation is obviously not good."
Stay with KDKA for the latest developments
(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Very sad. I would see him occasionally (I live in squirrel Hill). I had high hopes for him. May his family find peace in knowing many are thinking and praying for them now.
May he rest in peace. Prayers for his family, and for the people of Pittsburgh.
May he Rest In Peace and may God comfort him on his journey to Him and console his family and friends in their time of need.
Last rites administered.
May he rest in peace. He was a great advocate for the Burgh.
Prayers up for his family. He is a mayor everyone liked.
Bump. V's wife.
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Rest in Peace.
Wow, so quick. Hope it was painless for him.
May this good man rest in peace.
For he and his family, prayers.
I thought he would have been a good mayor for a 'D'. It's too bad he was in office such a short length of time.
Prayers for the family, rest in peace Mr. Mayor.
I am saddened by his death. I am a republican, but he was the best thing to happen to pittsburgh for a long time. My regrets go to his family, for he seemed to me like a very fine person, who wanted to do good for a sorely desperate city.
Excuse me if I digress, Mayor OConnor"s predessor was mayor Murphy, who destroyed this city.He was caught red handed in voter fraud, when the cheif of the fire department sent a letter saying the mayor, Murphy, bought his unions votes with an expensive contract.
He destroyed our downtown, with the threat of "emminient domain" so every one who owned a building stopped spending or renting.
He built three "white elephants" known as "lord and Taylor",
Lazurius and the convention centers. No one wants to come here for huge conventions, so the "center" is a vacant disaster. As to the other two, he gave them incredible amounts of money for 5 year leases, which they bolted on at the end of their terms. No intelligent real estate person would have ever done short (5 ) year terms.
He is now a consultant to New Orleans for their rebuilding. A consultant to the City Of Pittsburgh, on how not to Cheat in elections( part of his sentencing), a consultant to the ULI ( a good groop who has made a mistake) and a teacher at Chatam College, they must be desperate.
I will miss Mayor O"Conner he was a good guy and we needed him. Murphy was a stupid pig,arrogant and clueless.
Sorry to hear about the Mayor.
Sad. RIP Mayor.
It is. I can't think of many other places I would want to live, even with my somewhat decrepit apt.
Yep. It was a rotten deal, and then the US Attorney didn't charge Murphy. Very odd.
What's happening in that pic where he's running?
Some nut had a gun in downtown Pittsburgh and Murphy was in the area. The SWAT Team rushed him to safety.
Please Embrace this Gentleman in Your Bright Light of Grace and Peace,and Please Give his Family the Strength they need at this difficult time,Thank You Lord Amen.
Rest in peace Mr. Mayor.
Shame about the Rachel Carson bridge.
I gess you know that he attended Taylor Alderdice back in the 60's. I was talking to an old friend of mine yesterday. They went to school together there. The mayor was always a very nice guy.
Is that Elsie Hillman there in the bottom picture? Good to see her again.
One more time if you don't mind. You are so right.
The death of this good man has me very sad early this morning. He was a very good guy.
After they named the bridge after Rachel Carson, officials should have painted the bridge black in memory of all the deaths caused by her noise.
He seemed on the right track. The last time I saw him was at a Steelers game. He was the most approachable guy ever headed for office. His son is a well liked priest in our area.
Hope this 26 year old taking his place is ready for the mud that he is about to be caked with. They play pretty rough in the City.
Friends, community leaders react to news of O'Connor's death
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Gov. Ed Rendell last night ordered all state flags in Pittsburgh and throughout Allegheny County to be lowered to half-staff to commemorate the death of Mayor Bob O'Connor.
Mr. Rendell was one of dozens of people -- officials and friends, statesmen and stateswomen -- who took the time last night to offer condolences to the O'Connor family and reminisce about Pittsburgh's popular mayor of just nine months.
"This is a great tragedy for Pittsburgh and for all of Pennsylvania," said Mr. Rendell. "Bob O'Connor was a wonderful public servant who served the city enormously well. ... Bob's death is especially tragic because becoming the mayor of Pittsburgh was his lifelong dream, and he was making incredible progress in revitalizing the city. His passing seems so unfair and is such a loss for all of us."
Here's what others were saying about the mayor's passing:
Dan Onorato, Allegheny County chief executive: "Our region lost a great man and a visionary leader, and I lost a dear friend and confidant. Bob O'Connor and I began our political careers on the same day, when we were sworn in as members of Pittsburgh City Council. From that day on, our friendship grew and strengthened, and we became partners in governing. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Judy, his children, Heidy, Father Terry and Corey, and the entire O'Connor family during this difficult time."
Sophie Masloff, former mayor: "He was a people person that everybody loved, no questions about it. From my personal experience, I have great sorrow for the people of Pittsburgh and his family. He served this city with dedication and devotion. He just had outstanding leadership, whether leading the fight to clean up the city or bringing in new business."
Dr. Stanley Marks, director of clinical services, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center: "As Bob's physician and friend, I am deeply saddened by his passing and express my deepest sympathy to his family."
Dan Cohen, former city councilman: "Bob's special quality was his common touch. I'm paraphrasing Rudyard Kipling, but he could walk with governors and board president but his special quality was that common touch.
"He was very good with people. He could relate to every segment of our community. I think that's something you innately have, and he just had it.''
Jim Roddey, former county chief executive: "He brought a level of energy and attitude that we haven't had in a long time. He made people feel good about Pittsburgh. We need to pick up his energy and move ahead with the things he started in his memory. He set a standard that whoever follows him should try to continue."
Guy Costa, director of the city Public Works Department: "When he walked into a room or a crowd, he lit it up. He cared about people. I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in November, and I was shocked, so when the mayor was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I had a feel for what he was thinking and going through. I'll remember his smile, his gray hair, his caring. No one can replace him, he was one in a million.''
M. Gayle Moss, Pittsburgh NAACP president: "He threw himself into his work, visiting countless sites with Department of Public Works officials as well as showing up at crime scenes to display his solidarity with all Pittsburgh's neighborhoods. He had the friendliness and visibility that a city needs.''
Dr. Mary Hines, Carlow University president: "We feel deeply the tragic loss of a man so intensely committed to what is right and good for the city he so loved and zealously served. His energy, enthusiasm, and decisiveness constantly remind us that hard work in pursuit of worthy ends are the keys to real and enduring progress.''
John Murray Jr., Duquesne University: "The mayor had brought us a generous spirit. He brought joy to this city. We are going to miss him greatly."
Mark A. Nordenberg, University of Pittsburgh chancellor: "Bob O'Connor was committed, compassionate, courageous, and completely unpretentious. He was beloved for his seemingly effortless ability to connect with people, relate to their problems, and provide a helping hand. Among his many gifts to this region was the reminder, grounded in his own compelling example, that, in addition to a sharp mind, leaders also need a strong will and a good heart."
Kathleen McGinty, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection: "What a fireball. What a guy with energy and vision."
Harvey Kronzek, member of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition: "He was a friend to the community and was always happy to see people, shaking their hands, kissing the women. He was like part of us. He still is part of us."
Norene Beatty, member of the West End-Elliott Citizens Council: "To our community, he gave hope for a new tomorrow. ... This is really hard ... I think he will be very, very much missed. People thought of him as a friend.''
Twanda Carlisle, city councilwoman: "It's a sad, sad day for the city of Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania. Bob worked so hard to get to be mayor. He began some wonderful work."
Dan Deasy, city councilman: "He changed our whole perception of this city; it's really a heartbreaking story. He was such an icon to Pittsburgh. He was just an average Pittsburgh guy who worked hard to get to where he was."
Tonya Payne, city councilwoman: "He was the right person for the neighborhoods. He was a neighborhood guy. It's a major, major loss for the city. I'm hoping the next mayor keeps some of it going.''
William Peduto, city councilman: "I think that Bob helped to redefine city government after 12 years of an administration that focused on real estate development. He brought it back to the basics of making sure that our neighborhoods are places that people want to live."
District Judge Gene Ricciardi, a former City Council president: "It was a true blow. I will always remember his smile. His smile was infectious. He was constantly flowing with energy. He is just one of those people who can never be replaced.''
Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., former bishop of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese: His legacy from his service in public life remains his ability to bring people together to see the best in everyone and to try to make Pittsburgh a better place.''
The Rev. Paul J. Bradley, auxiliary bishop, Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese: "Bob O'Connor led a life of dedicated public service and he had inspired all of Pittsburgh in the brief time that we had him as our mayor. But we remember him as well as a devoted husband, father, and our brother in the faith.''
Bill Isler, city school board president: "He certainly was a friend to the Pittsburgh Public Schools. He was somebody I could talk to at any time about public education. He was always available."
David Caliguiri, son of former Mayor Richard Caliguiri, who also died in office: "I feel a deep sorrow and sadness for the city of Pittsburgh. It's hard for me to express because it's something I went through 18 years ago.''
Sala Udin, former city councilman: "It's a very difficult day for people who knew him and worked with him. There is nobody that loved this city and loved his job more than Bob O'Connor. His feet were firmly planted on the ground, and that's where his aspirations came from.''
Paul Hennigan, president of Point Park University: "I worked with Bob for six years when he was a member of City Council and I was chief financial officer for the city. I am happy he had an opportunity to serve as mayor and I'm grateful to have had an opportunity to work with him and to share in his vision and plans for Pittsburgh's Downtown area.''
Kevin McClatchy, Pirates managing general partner: "Bob was a great sports fan, but Bob was an even bigger fan of the city of Pittsburgh. We all saw this in his enthusiasm for the Steelers after they won the Super Bowl and in how hard he worked to make sure that Pittsburgh would look its best for the All-Star Game in July. Bob O'Connor cared about the city of Pittsburgh in a very special way."
State Sen. Jim Ferlo: "It is said that the most beautiful rose is always plucked out of the garden first. 'Everybody's Mayor' is now looking down on us from heaven above telling us to never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Bob lived and practiced that principle, it was what made Bob the people-person he was to so many."
Lifelong friend Robert "Jabo" Jablonowski, who was at the mayor's bedside when he died: "When we would walk the streets in Squirrel Hill, you couldn't walk 10 feet without someone coming up to him. He won this city over. You could disagree with him, but you didn't dislike him. And he had such compassion."
Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann: "Mayor O'Connor demonstrated an unyielding commitment and a selfless devotion to the city of Pittsburgh. His enthusiasm for Pittsburgh's future should be carried forward as a part of his legacy."
Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman T.J. Rooney: "Bob was a true Democrat who believed in providing a better future for working families, especially those that worked hard, played by the rules and contributed to the greater good.''
Jeff Vesci, president of city paramedics union, Local 1: "The thing about Bob I always liked, there was the happy, fun-loving guy that everyone saw and liked and that was Bob. When it came to serious matters or not. ... He was a good businessman. When he sat down at the table with you he wanted to get things done and get down to business. We had such hopes for him to do great things for the city. It's just a shame."
Common Pleas Judge Tom Flaherty, former city controller: "Bob O'Connor was, in my entire 30 years in politics, unique in the fact that I never saw him lose his cool publicly or privately. He was the eternal optimist. As far as local politics, I never saw anyone who had the same optimism and good nature. He was the kind of guy we will never see again -- certainly in my lifetime."
Here in the 'Burgh the westerly edge of Ernesto has been wetting us for the past nine hours. It's been a steady and cold early September rain. As day broke the real dreariness of the gray day was accentuated. I learned of the mayor's death around midnight last night. Apparently he had died right around 9:00 p.m. Well this is a fact......... here in the North Hills of Pittsburgh it started raining right about that time. I can honestly say that this weather is quite fitting of a very sad day.
Bob O'Connor was one nice guy!
Oops ..... eleven hours of rain....
And prayers for his family.
I liked Mayor O'Connor. Sad to see this happen.
My prayers go out for Mayor O'Connor and his family, and the burgh. He was a quite a guy, such a visible and positive presence! He seemed to really love Pittsburgh, the people, his job. His jubilation when Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl was contagious. I love the effect he had on the 'burgh. He will surely be missed.
Prayers offered up for his family.
God rest his soul. Thank him for his service to the city and the country. Prayers for him and his family.
Prayers also for the young lion who will try to fill his shoes.
BTW in SH did you know the Lichter's? Worked for them for many years.
This is a very sad Labor Day for Pittsburgh. I have to do news on WJAS Labor Day morning. Even with this advance notice I'm not sure how to handle it.
It's times like these when we put politics aside. Bob O'Connor had an enthusiasm for Pittsburgh. He will be missed very much.
By the way, I love the music that is played on WJAS. It's a warm patch of sanity in today's world. When I get sick of the political talkshows (which is exactly when Sean Vanity comes on the radio at 3:00 p.m.), I turn on WJAS.
If you are able to speak to the folks who choose that music, please tell them that it is very much appreciated. (I guess you can tell why I have this screen name.)
Good luck with the news this morning. I cannot get over the mayor's death myself. I must admit to getting to know him better now than when he was alive. He certainly was a great guy.
An old buddy of mine was a Golden Gloves boxer and champion and "All Army" boxer. He attended Alderdice with the mayor. My buddy said he was a real nice guy even back then too.
I guess you know the story of the mayor's marriage to Judy. She was a Jewish girl, his highschool sweatheart, and the mayor was quoted a few years ago as saying that only about 6% of Jewish girls married outside of their faith at that time. So ..... it wasn't an easy thing to accomplish.
p.s. I did not know the Lichters.
I've been looking for a record of Mayor O'Connor's military service. He had to have been in the service to have his coffin draped with an American flag.
From what I could find out, the flag can be lowered to half mast for politicians, from senator on up to president. Couldn't find any thing on draping coffins.
Update: If you're in the burgh area or get one of their channels, the coverage of the Mayor's funeral is airing at this time. I get WTAE here and can have it on while I work, it's a very lovely, touching tribute to a truly remarkable man.
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