WILLIAM R. “OAKIE”/COACH OCONNOR- of Woburn, October 15th, seventy-two years of age. Beloved husband of Kathleen A. (Conway) OConnor. Devoted father of Patrick J. OConnor, his wife Jennifer Breen OConnor of Weymouth and Caitlin OConnor Balwin, her husband Matthew of NH. Dear brother of John OConnor, his wife Lois of FL, James OConnor of Woburn and the late Edward J. OConnor, Jr., Katherine McGann and Lawrence OConnor. Cherished grandfather of Jake C. and Ryan J. Baldwin. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to call Wednesday, October 19th, from 3:00-8:00 p.m. at Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn. Plans for a Memorial Celebration will be announced in the coming weeks. Remembrances may be made in Coachs memory to the Woburn Memorial High Scholarship Fund, in memory of William Coach OConnor, P.O. Box 202, Woburn, MA 01801.
William R. Oakie/Coach OConnor, life long Woburn resident and long time Woburn High School Track Coach, passed away at the Lahey Clinic, Saturday October fifteenth. The beloved husband of Kathleen A. (Conway) OConnor, he was seventy-two years of age.
Born in Woburn he was the son of the late Edward J. and Helen (Wallace) OConnor.
One of six children Oakie as he had been called since a youngster, was raised and educated here in Woburn, graduating from Woburn High School with the Class of 1961. All throughout high school Oakie participated in all the track activities, indoor, outdoor and cross-country. He had a love for the sport, which he carried on to Northeastern University, where he was a significant contributor to the Huskies track team during his college career there. Graduating with a B.S. in Physical Education from Northeastern University in 1968, he went on to begin his teaching career as a Physical Education Teacher at Southborough Middle School, where he remained for over the next thirty-six years.
While in college Oakie met a wonderful young lady in Boston one evening, Kathy Conway. They began dating and in 1970 they were married and together they journeyed together for over forty-six years. They brought two children into the world of whom he was most proud. They made their home in the West Side of Woburn, which was Oakies family homestead and remained there over the years. Summertime vacations to Cape Cod began when the children were small and continued over time. As the children ventured off to college they would often visit, whether near or abroad, which provided them a wonderful trip to Ireland to visit their daughter while studying. Sanibel Island or Ft. Myers Beach he and Kathy would be sure to catch a Red Sox game, but more importantly the Northeastern Huskies baseball team would be there for a scrimmage with the Red Sox!
It was in Northborough that he began his coaching career as a Gymnastics Coach. The team he coached became a very storied dynasty having become the State Champs after several years of not so good performances. That was the beginning of a phenomenal career, not in gymnastics but in track! In 1972, he began coaching track at the Algonquin Regional High School where he coached from 1972 until 1985. During this time Coach which now became his nickname, took his teams to many state titles, championships and ultimate individual and group performances for many of his tracksters.
In 1986 Coach came home! He began coaching at Woburn High School cross country team and that wonderful beam of success followed. The track program at Woburn High School became an outstanding and well-admired team throughout the Middlesex League and State with Coach at the helm. The awards were bountiful for Coach having received; Massachusetts State Hall of Fame Coach, recognized over the years by both the Boston Globe and Herald Newspapers All Scholastic Hall of Fame Coach (several times) Algonquin Regional High School Hall of Fame, served as a Track and Field State Official, served on the planning board for the MSTCA, a member of the Varsity Club at Northeastern and served as an Official for the Boston Marathon.
Over thirty years ago he began “Fun Runs” for the children of Woburn, down at Horn Pond; well now that has been growing ever since it started and presently serves from pre school to seniors and has participants galore! The bridge down at the Pond, the start and finish lines of the Fun Run and the track at the Joyce Middle School are all areas throughout the city that have been recognized in the name and honor of Coachs love, support and true and natural dedication above and beyond to the sport of running.
A Trivia expert, a Seinfeld enthusiast, “Coach” thoroughly enjoyed music from the 50s and 60s. He also had a wonderful gift of being very creative artistically. Pen, ink, pencil, watercolors, he was a very talented artist.
A very good, thoughtful and incredibly kind gentleman Coach was one amazing man. His love for his family was strong and unshakeable, his chosen profession throughout his lifetime touched the lives of many, many children across the state and an awful lot right here in his hometown of Woburn. Coach was truly a strong formidable presence in this life, who right up until last Tuesday was right there on the sideline, continuing to be the man that he was throughout his entire life, Coach leading the team on to another victory and greeting them at the finish line.
Sadly coach was predeceased by his parents, his siblings Edward J. OConnor, Jr., Catherine McGann and Lawrence OConnor.
He is lovingly survived by his beloved wife Kathy, his children Patrick J. OConnor, his wife Jennifer Breen OConnor of Weymouth and Caitlin OConnor Baldwin, her husband Matthew of NH. Dear brother of John OConnor, his wife Lois of FL, James OConnor of Woburn . Cherished grandfather of Jake C. and Ryan J. Baldwin. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to call Wednesday, October 19th, from 3:00-8:00 p.m. at Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn. Plans for a Memorial Celebration will be announced in the coming weeks. Remembrances may be made in Coachs memory to the Woburn Memorial High Scholarship Fund, in memory of William Coach OConnor, P.O. Box 202, Woburn, MA 01801.