Rev. John J. O'Connor

April 4, 2021

Rev. John O'Connor Obituary

Rev. John James O’Connor, 88 a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque passed away Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021 at Stonehill Care Center.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 10, 2021 at Wahlert Catholic High School with Most Rev. Michael Jackels officiating and with Rev. Msgr. Lyle Wilgenbusch as homilist. Visitation for Father John will be from 4:00 pm. to 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 9, 2021 at Wahlert Catholic High School, 2005 Kane Street where there will be a wake service at 4:00 p.m. with Fr. Anthony Kruse officiating.  Visitation will also be after 9:00 a.m. until time of services Saturday. Burial will follow the Mass at Saint John Cemetery, Placid. The Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory 2595 Rockdale Road is in charge of arrangements. Please remember to wear your mask and if you are unable to attend, a live stream of the funeral Mass will be on the funeral home Facebook page.

Father was born on March 21, 1933 in Rockford, Iowa the son of Everett and Mary Bertha (Merfeld) O’Connor. He Graduated from Loras College in 1954 with a B.A. in History and later attended Mount Saint Bernard Seminary. He was ordained on February 1, 1958 at Saint Raphael Cathedral by Archbishop Leo Benz, D.D. Fr. O’Connor served as assistant pastor at Saint Anthony Church in Dubuque from 1958 until 1963 and at Immaculate Conception in Cedar Rapids from 1963 until 1968.

In 1968 he joined the faculty of Wahlert High School. He served there for 16 years as the Dean of Boys and later as assistant principal. He left a great legacy at Wahlert that many alumni remember yet today.

From 1984 to 1988 he served as the Archdiocesan Director of Development for Catholic Education. During that time, he also served as pastor of Saint John Placid from 1985 until 1988. In 1988 he was named pastor of Saint Joseph Key West and served there until 1996 when he became pastor of Saint Boniface in New Vienna and Saints Peter and Paul in Petersburg. In 2018 those parishes joined the Spires of Faith Cluster and Fr. John served them as a sacramental priest until his retirement on July 10, 2018.

Fr. John was a priest of many talents. From his simple upbringing in Dougherty working on the farm in his early years, he grew a love of the outdoors and a talent for working with his hands. These talents served him well later in life, and he was not afraid to tackle any project around Wahlert or at the parishes he served. He also enjoyed working in the garden, and his many fishing and hunting trips. He helped those in need, both spiritually and financially throughout his life.

He is survived by two sisters-in-law Marilyn O’Connor and Jan O’Connor; nieces, nephews, and cousins along with his brother priests.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Leo, Donald and Edward and a sister-in-law Ruth.

Memorials may be given to Wahlert Catholic High School.

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April 9, 2021

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Wahlert High School
2005 Kane Street
Dubuque, IA 52001

Mass of Christian Burial
April 10, 2021

10:00 AM
Wahlert High School
2005 Kane Street
Dubuque, IA 52001


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