David J. O'Connor

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David J. O'Connor
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
Succeeded by Francis K. Dwyer
Personal details
Born (1924-11-09)November 9, 1924
Boston, Massachusetts
Died May 5, 2011(2011-05-05) (aged 86)
Sarasota, Florida
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Domestic partner Patricia Wanders (1990-2011; his death)[1]
Alma mater Staley College
Boston School of Anatomy and Embalming
University of Massachusetts Boston
Occupation Funeral director

David J. "Okie" O'Connor was an American funeral director and politician who was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1951 to 1970. He left the House after he was convicted of willful failure to file Federal income tax returns.

Early life and education[edit]

O'Connor was born on November 9, 1924 in Boston.[2] His father, David I. O'Connor, was a funeral director in Roxbury.[3] He attended Mission High School, the Boston School of Business Administration, and Staley College.[4] After becoming a state representative he attended the Boston School of Anatomy and Embalming and University of Massachusetts Boston.[2]

After high school, O'Connor enlisted in the United States Navy. He was stationed on the USS Chester during the attack on Pearl Harbor.[1]

Political career[edit]

O'Connor first became involved in politics as a community activist in Roxbury. From 1951 to 1970 he was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. During his tenure as a state representative, O'Connor's interests included finance, consumer protection, housing, and supporting the policies of Democratic governors Paul A. Dever, Foster Furcolo, and Endicott Peabody.[1] O'Connor was a staunch supporter of the Furcolo administration and backed the governor's proposal to create a 3% sales tax.[5][6] In 1960 Furcolo appointed O'Connor to a six-year term on the Boston Licensing Board.[6]

In 1956, O'Connor helped obtain the release of a Dorchester mother of four who was arrested by Boston Police at 4:30 am for parking violations. After the incident, O'Connor a bill that would make it a crime for police to serve parking warrants between 10 pm and 7 am.[1][7][8]

In 1958, O'Connor supported John F. Thompson, a friend and fellow World War II veteran, in his quest to become Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. O'Connor supported Thompson in spite of opposition from many powerful Democrats including John F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, and Endicott Peabody.[1]

On May 31, 1960, O'Connor purchased a vacant lot abutting his funeral home for $300 at a city auction. The sale was voided after William H. McBain, who represented abutting business owner, filed a complaint. McBain claimed that he had the site under observation on the morning the auction was to take place, but did not see anyone on the lot. The Real Property Board voided the sale and order that a second auction be held. McBain, however, withdrew his complaint and did not bid at the second auction because he wanted to keep the good will of his state representative, as there were bills under consideration that could hurt the business he worked for. O'Connor purchased the property at the second auction for $800. The incident was brought before the Boston Finance Commission in 1962 after Real Property Commissioner James J. Sullivan cited the auction as one of the complaints he had to handle since taking office. No action was taken against O'Connor, however, the Finance Commission demanded the dismissal of City Auctioneer John J. McGrath and the abolition of the City Auctioneer's position.[9][10][11]

On February 4, 1970, O'Connor was convicted of willful failure to file Federal income tax returns. According to prosecutors, O'Connor did not file income tax returns for the years 1962 and 1963, during which time he had a total income of $44,000. He was sentenced to five months in jail and fined $10,000.[12][13][14]

Later life and death[edit]

After his retirement, O'Connor resided at his former summer home in Hull, Massachusetts and at the home of his longtime partner in Nokomis, Florida. He died on May 5, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida at the age of 86.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Willis, Laurie D. (May 16, 2011). "David J. O'Connor; served Mission Hill voters 2 decades". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 1970-1971. p. 256. 
  3. ^ "David I. O'Connor, Funeral Director, 63". The Boston Globe. March 25, 1961. 
  4. ^ Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 1951-1952. p. 249. 
  5. ^ "List of Sales Tax Backers". The Boston Daily Globe. February 2, 1960. 
  6. ^ a b Lewis, William J. (May 6, 1960). "Young Democrats for Ward Hold Key Jobs in Local Areas". The Boston Globe. 
  7. ^ "O'Connor Moves To Bar Night Parking Arrests". The Boston Daily Globe. November 14, 1956. 
  8. ^ "Legislator Score Boston Police of 'Iron Curtain' Arrest". The Boston Daily Globe. January 31, 1957. 
  9. ^ "Rep. O'Connor Defends Winning Lot at Auctions". The Boston Globe. April 5, 1962. 
  10. ^ Hammond, James H. (April 7, 1962). "Fin Com to O'Connor: No Cloud Seen on You". The Boston Globe. 
  11. ^ Wells, William H. (May 10, 1962). "Fin Com Demands: Throw Out M'Grath". The Boston Globe. 
  12. ^ "Roxbury legislator guilty in tax case". The Boston Globe. February 5, 1970. 
  13. ^ "Legislator give jail sentence, fine". The Boston Globe. February 25, 1970. 
  14. ^ "Roxbury Official Sentenced". The New York Times. February 25, 1970.