Karen M. O’Connor, 76, of Vero Beach, Florida, died May 28, 2020, after a lengthy illness.
Born in Winsted, Connecticut, on December 6, 1943, she was the daughter of the late Russell J. O’Connor, Sr., and Elaine (Nardi) O’Connor. She was pre-deceased by her brother, Russell O’Connor, and is survived by her sister-in-law, Margo, S. O’Connor, of Norfolk, along with many loving cousins and friends.
Karen’s family would like to thank her companions, caregivers, and friends for the kindness shown to her over the years.
She was a three-sport athlete at Southern Connecticut State College where she received her Bachelor’s Degree, and her Master’s Degree from Springfield, (Massachusetts), College.
Karen was a physical education teacher, and head hockey coach at Lewis S. Mills High School, in Burlington, Connecticut, for 22 years, from 1965 -1987, where she also coached basketball, cheerleading, badminton and tennis. She was elected president of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association of 1983-84, and had served as secretary, second vice-president, and first vice-president of the association. As president of the 3,000 member CHSCA, she was the first female president of the organization, and presided over executive board meetings and organized sport committees at the CIAC level.
She received several coaches’ awards over the years, including the National Coach-of-the-Year for Girl’s Sports in District 1 in 1978, and three Coach-of-the-Year awards from the Connecticut Coaches Association. Karen was also involved with umpiring girl’s sports and was the Umpiring Chairman of Field Hockey officials in Connecticut, Chairman of the Connecticut Basketball Officials, and a National Basketball referee.
In 2006, she was inducted into the Ken Hoagland Lewis S. Mills Athletic Hall of Fame.
Karen enjoyed her retirement years in Vero Beach, Florida, where she had been the former President of the SeaWatch Condominium Association and was a member of the Quail Valley Club at the time of her passing.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, June 29, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Church, 4 North Street, Norfolk. Burial of cremains will follow at St. Mary Cemetery in Norfolk. There will be no calling hours. All relatives and friends attending the funeral are reminded to follow CDC recommendations for COVID prevention -- please follow social distancing guidelines and wear protective masks. Cook Funeral Home, Torrington, has been entrusted with handling Karen’s funeral arrangements.
Condolences may be sent to Karen’s family by visiting www.cookfuneralhomect.com
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