Bob O'Connor (mayor)
|58th Mayor of Pittsburgh|
January 3, 2006 – September 1, 2006
|Preceded by||Tom Murphy|
|Succeeded by||Luke Ravenstahl|
|President of the Pittsburgh City Council|
January 6, 1998 – January 7, 2002
|Preceded by||Jim Ferlo|
|Succeeded by||Gene Ricciardi|
|Member of the Pittsburgh City Council from the 5th District|
January 6, 1992 – February 10, 2003
|Preceded by||Michael Coyne|
|Succeeded by||Doug Shields|
December 9, 1944|
Greenfield, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
|Died||September 1, 2006
Shadyside, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
|Spouse(s)||Judy Levine O'Connor|
Personal life and early career
Born in the Greenfield neighborhood, and a longtime resident of Squirrel Hill, O'Connor graduated from Pittsburgh's Taylor Allderdice High School in 1962 and was inducted into their alumni hall of fame in 2011. He worked briefly as a steelworker, and then entered the restaurant business. He eventually became executive vice-president of the Pappan chain of restaurants in the Pittsburgh area.
He and his wife, Judy Levine O'Connor, had one daughter, Heidy Garth, and two sons, Corey and Terrence. Father Terry O'Connor is a Roman Catholic priest, currently the pastor of St. Therese of Lisieux of Munhall, Pennsylvania. Corey is currently representing the same neighborhoods that his father represented on Pittsburgh City Council.
He challenged Murphy in the Democratic primaries for mayor in 1997 and 2001. The 2001 race was especially contentious, as there was a five-way Democratic party primary. Both O'Connor and Murphy spent more than $1 million on their respective campaigns and in the end earned around 30,000 votes each in a very close race. O'Connor lost the race by 699 votes, and conceded the race several days after the primary.
In 2005, O'Connor did not face Tom Murphy, who decided to not seek a fourth term as mayor. O'Connor was able to raise the most money, collect many endorsements,establish the energetic and dedicated "Delta Team" led by Bob "Jabo" Jablonowski, and beat a group of challengers. Among the runners up in the May 17 Democratic primary were Bill Peduto, a member of the city council, and Michael Lamb, a County Row Office Holder. On November 8, O'Connor defeated Republican lawyer Joe Weinroth, winning the mayoral office. On January 3, 2006, he was sworn into office.
Legacy as mayor
During his brief tenure, O'Connor started the "Redd Up Pittsburgh" campaign. ("Redd up" is a Pittsburgh English term which means "to clean up" or "straighten up".), and strongly emphasized the positives of the city. Each month, from November 2006 to November 2007, local volunteer organization hosted a "Redd Up Pittsburgh" day in a different neighborhood to honor him. On November 17, 2006, the O'Connor family was presented with the Hall of Fame Shining Lights Award for the former mayor's "Redd Up Pittsburgh" initiative. He was the first to receive this award.
Illness and death
O'Connor had been in office just seven months when, in early July 2006, he complained of chronic fatigue and underwent multiple tests. On July 10, 2006, O'Connor was diagnosed with primary central nervous system lymphoma, a rare brain cancer. He began intense treatment, including chemotherapy, immediately. Though the prognosis was initially good, he experienced many complications including seizures and infections.
In August, his condition deteriorated. Yarone Zober, who had been recently appointed deputy mayor, served as acting mayor in his absence. During his illness, thousands of black and gold rubber bracelets, inscribed with the words "Bob O'Connor...Everybody's Mayor" and "The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society" were sold. The proceeds were earmarked to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
On September 1, 2006, at 8:55 pm EDT, O'Connor died at UPMC Shadyside Hospital, 24 hours after being removed from life support. He was 61 years old. City Council President Luke Ravenstahl became mayor in the wake of O'Connor's death. He was sworn in at 10:36 pm EDT at the City County Building in downtown Pittsburgh.
O'Connor's funeral and burial followed on September 7, 2006, at the Cathedral of Saint Paul and Calvary Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The grave is located in the south-west area of the cemetery in the Gethsemane section, lot 6, grave 5. The GPS coordinates are N 40° 24.770 W 079° 55.838. His son Terrence, a Roman Catholic priest, delivered the homily at the funeral Mass.
- 2001 Race for Pittsburgh Mayor (Democratic Primary)
- Tom Murphy (D), 48%
- Bob O'Connor (D), 47%
- Leroy Hodge (D), 3%
- 2005 Race for Pittsburgh Mayor
- Bob O'Connor (D), 67%
- Joseph Weinroth (R), 27%
- McNulty, Timothy (January 8, 2002). "Ricciardi elected council president". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- "Allderdice to induct 6 to Alumni Hall of Fame". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 31, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 19, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-02.
- http://www.pittsburghcares.org Pittsburgh Cares
- Lord, Rich; Srikameswaran, Anita (July 11, 2006). "Mayor faces aggressive treatment for rare cancer - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Lord, Rich (August 31, 2006). "Spokesman: Mayor O'Connor's condition now 'hour-to-hour' - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- City of Pittsburgh Official remembrance of Mayor O'Connor
- O'Connor Elected as Mayor
- Timeline of the Life and Career of Mayor Bob O'Connor
- Bracelet information
|Mayor of Pittsburgh
|Pittsburgh City Council|
|President of the Pittsburgh City Council
|Member of the Pittsburgh City Council from the 5th District