Richard O'Connor
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Our family knew Rick from our boys Matt O’Connor and David Betsch playing soccer together. Lots of time on the sidelines together. Although our families have all grown up and gone different ways we think of Rick often. Especially on this 20th anniversary you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Sandra Betsch, Friend
Sep 11 2021 0:57PM
I knew Rick well in HS. I played lacrosse with him for 4 years, had several classes with him and used to share rides with him after practice. I always felt that Rick was more focused, more serene and more stable than most of us in the WHS Class of 1970. He never seemed to let adversity get to him and was always someone who provided support and inspiration. After graduation, life took us in different directions and I doubt I would have crossed paths with him again, but somehow I miss him and feel I always will.
Wayne Rathbun, Friend
Sep 11 2020 0:34PM
Remembering you on this anniversary! RIP
Rosalia Croes, Colleague
Sep 11 2018 7:38AM
I didn't know Rick personally. But, I saw him a lot. Rick was on the Watertown High School wrestling team that won 50 matches in a row. I was 3 years behind Rick, and being on the JV, I had the pleasure of watching him wrestle many times. He was tall, gangly, long arms, broad shouldered. He was what we call a "smart wrestler," in that he won more because of cunning and technique than pure muscle. There were a lot of great athletes on that team, but watching Rick was a real treat. The guys on that legendary undefeated wrestling squad were like living gods to us younger guys, and it would have been almost sacrilegious to go up to talk to them. So I say to you now, Rick, rest in peace.
John Gee, Colleague
Apr 5 2018 0:12PM
Although I worked for Marsh during the time of the attacks I did not personally know Richard. I joined a group called Toastmasters at my current job where we have to give speeches. Yesterday I gave a my first speech and I spoke about keeping my falling co-workers memory alive. I pray that your family has found some peace and I pray that you are resting in peace!
Lauren Weeks, Colleague
Dec 13 2012 2:16PM
I knew Rick from our high school days. He was one a small group of guys that hung out together. I too played Lacrosse and oh those trips to the Indian reservation at St. Regis to select and watch as they hand strung a new box stick. We all went our seperate ways after high school to college and most of us just never reconnected except for the college breaks back home(watertown). I've thought about Rick many times over the last ten years and often wondered what he was like later on as an adult, job and family. I read the other tributes on this site and now know he was exactly who I remember him to be so long ago, a caring and compassionate person that was a good father,husband,co-worker and friend.
Mike Massaro, Friend
Sep 10 2011 3:38PM
It wasn't until last year did I discover that Rick O'Connor was one of the many lost on September 11. Growing up, Rick and his family lived directly across the street from my family. I was two years older than Rick - but as kids, age had no meaning so we were close friends for many years. Rick was earnest, intelligent and loyal... all the things his father and mother instilled in him. He was a good guy.
Gary Khammar, Friend
Sep 14 2009 5:39PM
It's hard to believe six years have passed since this tragedy. I fly a flag every day in memory of Rick. We were also co-workers at Fluor back in the early 80's. After massive lay-offs in 1986, Rick, Bill W. and I were the last of the new hire class of 1981. We had become good friends and often had dinner together with our spouses. One day Rick told me that his plans were to leave Houston and move East to where the action is. The day Bill called me to deliver the awful news, those words rang in my ears. The morning of 9-11 I was dressed in my Scout uniform to make a presentation at a local elementary school to recruit boys into Cub Scouts. Parents came to the school, hugged their children and hurried them home. I then heard about the crash near Shanksville, very close to our Camp Twin Echo. The sky was quiet. Our world had changed. I miss my friend.
Page Davies, Colleague
Mar 27 2008 10:16PM
September 11th Remembered – Five Years On Rick O’Connor was my friend. His son Matt and my son Ian played soccer for the LaGrange Patriots when our kids were just beginning to reach for their adolescence. At practices and games we fathers milled around waiting, while our boys played. We developed that informal relationship you get from seeing someone often without really trying. Bumping in to them and trading stories, you get to know them bit-by-bit and friendship grows. Rick worked for an environmental clean-up company in Pennsylvania and commuted back and forth each week to LaGrange, NY. Thin and blond, he was “jock-ey”, but not the football type. Lacrosse was his thing in high school, but he loved to see our boys play soccer. “Did you see that? Did you see that?!” he would say, after some near-goal that our Patriots had failed to put away. Or, he would laugh when our 11-year-old soccer stars clumsily managed to clear a shot on our goal and say, “Oh, we were so lucky!” “Ian did a great job out there today in spite of that idiot we have for a coach!” he would remark, as we walked to our cars through the chill dusk of an upstate NY Fall. Rick and his wife Lynn had moved back to the Northeast, to our little town in upstate New York from Sugarland, Texas in the late 90’s. When they heard we might move to Houston, they alternately tried to scare us with big-bug stories and encourage us with the new culinary opportunities of city life. Rick and Lynn had two daughters, Erin and Lauren, who played girlie-fantasy games along the sidelines of the field with my daughter Corrie during soccer practices and games. Like all of us, their weekends were made of hastily laid kid-plans. “I’ll take Erin to the ball game, and you meet us back here at 1 and …” they would say, trying to stretch their two lives around three kids. When we visited New York in October 2001, Ian heard the news first. Rick had a meeting at the World Trade Center early on the morning of Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 and was killed in the attack. While some were not in their “normal” workplaces at that time, and so narrowly averted death or injury, Rick was only visiting for the day. He was one of the “unlucky ones”. His son Matt, like my son, was a sophomore in college at the time. We hear Matt struggled through that first year. At the first anniversary, we heard friends saw Lynn and redheaded Matt on a televised memorial. Rick’s name appeared in alphabetical order on the TV screen along with all the others who suffered and died for reasons that still make no sense. The dusty and destructive images that fill our minds when we remember September 11th brought us first to welling tears, and then to righteous anger, and then to a resolution to never-forget. But we do, and we will, and our lives go on day-by-day and year-upon-year. And fortunately, mercifully, those emotive images have faded. Now days, only recalled when some politician needs a vote, or some movie company needs a fresh script. But, like gold-refined, the good things stay, and Rick remains a part of my recollections of those youth soccer years in our little town, among the tall trees and green mountains of a crisp, Fall day in LaGrange.
Ed Nelson, Friend
Sep 11 2006 11:25AM
I grew up with the O'Connors in Watertown NY. Rick and his brother Bill were roughly the same ages as my older brother and me. I always looked up to Rick. He took the time during long summers to play games (Risk) with us younger kids, and to horse around in the yard. Later in high school he was a great lacrosse player. I have to share that every time I make a peanut butter cracker, I think of Rick as he was the one who taught me the plasures of that snack. I am sorry to say I didn't keep up with Rick or Bill since leaving home for the service. But since 9/11 I think of him and his family on Francis street often, and wish his spirit Peace.
Lee Van Brocklin, Friend
May 2 2006 3:40PM
Rick and I worked as piping engineers at Flour Engineering in Houston, Texas in the early 80's. At the time, if I had to guess which of us pipers would have had the drive, brains, and determination to end up working in New York City on Manhattan Island, I probably would have guessed Rick. Twenty years later, as a County Engineer near San Antonio, on that September 11th morning, I was walking across a 2000 foot long earthen dam in the middle of a quiet Texas ranch, blue sky, no noise except wind and birds, listening to a pick-up truck radio, when they announced that those towers went down. I thought to myself, 'Here I stand in an area of complete tranquility and bliss and the people in and around those buildings are in total chaos and despair.' I now know that one of those people was a good friend of mine. Rick and I worked together for about two years, in fact, we car pooled everyday during those years. Often, as I waited in front of his house on dark mornings, I would see him through the kitchen window, kiss his wife goodbye and then haul the trash to the curb. He would climb in the car and then, off to work we went. We wore similar dress... white shirts, ties, slacks. Both with youthful short blonde hair. We walked quickly. We were referred to as the door-to-door Mormon missionaries. Rick was a good engineer. We were quite compatible and worked well together. After I left Fluor, I went to work for an engineering firm in Houston. About a year later, Rick called and offered me a job to come back to Fluor. He told me he would get scolded by his boss if I didn't accept the offer. I didn't take it because my company countered with a better raise. That was the last time I spoke with him. I think about Rick often. I know what a truly kind and generous person he was. My best to Lynne and his children.
Tom Hornseth, Colleague
Sep 20 2004 9:42AM
I knew Rick as a colleague and friend. He was an environmental expert, good business man, funny, smart, a loving father who spoke of his three children often, an avid watch collector. I may be one of the few Marsh colleagues still alive to see Rick prior to 9/11. We were together in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday 9/7/01 meeting with DuPont. We went out for a nice early lunch prior to our meeting along with Jeff Gardner, another colleague of ours who perished in the WTC. Rick, as usual, gave a great presentation and was an invaluable part of the Marsh team. I had to run at the end of the meeting to catch my train back to New Yor and only got to say a very quick good bye to Rick on my way out the door. I shook his hand and said see you soon.... I consider Rick my friend and we shared some good laughs and interesting debate in the short time that I knew him. I miss him and pray for him and his family and think of him quite often.
Daniel R. Lavoie, Colleague
Oct 2 2003 11:11AM
Today, on September 11, 2003, I often thought about Rick and reflected on times while growing up in northern New York. Rick was adventurous, and I think liked living a bit on the edge. The last time I saw him was at a family reunion during the summer of 2000. It was fun to see him with his kids, and share some stories. We'll always miss him.
Ruth McWilliams, Family
Sep 11 2003 8:12PM
I didn't know Richard personally but as a colleague and Christian I would like to extend my condolences to his family and I pray that he is resting peacefully, waiting for us to join him in heaven. With love, Michael Cantatore
Michael Cantatore, Colleague
Feb 3 2003 2:03PM