Grace M. O’Connor, 91, a longtime Worcester resident passed away peacefully Friday, May 4th, 2018 surrounded by her loving family.
Grace was born in Worcester, one of eight children of Alexander and Margaret (Foley) Strozina. In 1945, she graduated from the former High School of Commerce and went to work at Liberty Mutual where she was promoted to Head Bookkeeper. In March of 1951, she married James O’Connor in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Church. Together they raised six children and celebrated 64 years of marriage before James passed away in March of 2015.
Grace devoted much of her time, love and energy to her family. She is survived by her five children, twins, Daniel, Donald and his wife Sandra, Kathleen O’Connor-West and her husband Frank, Paul, Margaret; her daughter in law Martha; her eight grandchildren, Patrick and his wife Maylen, Ryan, Patricia Vaillancourt and her husband Brandon, Cassandra, Alexandra, Kaitlyn, Heidi, and Zachary; two great grandchildren, Aria and Levy; and numerous nieces and nephews. Her oldest son, James O'Connor, Jr., died in 2014 followed by his wife, Wendy, in 2016. Grace was predeceased by all her siblings, Albert, Dorothy, Harold, Robert, Richard, Raymond and Edward.
Family was the center of Grace’s universe and being a good wife and mother mattered most to her. Whether it was the daily management of a household with six children ranging in ages from 2 to 17 or packing up the entire family for the annual vacation on Cape Cod, or hosting a Labor Day pool party/ cookout, Grace was the model of organization, efficiency and hospitality. There was always room at her table for one more, be it family, friend or neighbor.
To Grace’s delight, the grandchildren started coming as her children grew older. She loved spending time with them whether they were babies, toddlers, or teenagers. “Grammy Grace’s” was indeed the place to be. Some of Grace’s happiest times were the years she and her husband, Jim spent in Clearwater, Florida after Jim retired. Each year they would host one of their children and their family with memorable trips to Disney World, area beaches and other attractions.
Grace had been actively involved in the Catholic Church throughout her life. During her 27 years at St. Catherine of Sweden Church, she was a member and President of the Rosary Sodality and, with her husband James, a Host Family for the Ecumenical movement. Since 1987, she had been a member of Christ the King Church.
For several years, Grace had been a cub scout leader for the St. Catherine of Sweden Church troop and a volunteer at Fallon Community Health Center. In her youth she had enjoyed dancing to Big Band music, particularly when Harry James, Xavier Cugat and Tommy Dorsey played Lake Side in Shrewsbury or Worcester Auditorium. She loved musicals, shopping, and time at the seashore.
Grace’s family especially would like to thank the fabulous caretakers and hospice team at Notre Dame Long Term Care Center. Their compassion, care, and comfort for Grace and their support for the family during the past nine months has been greatly appreciated.
Friends and relatives are invited to calling hours on Tuesday, May 8th from 4:00 until 7:00 PM in O’CONNOR BROTHERS FUNERAL HOME, 592 Park Avenue. Grace’s funeral will be held on Wednesday, May 9th from the funeral home with a procession to Christ the King Church, 1052 Pleasant Street, where her Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 AM. Burial will follow in St. John’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Grace’s name to Notre Dame Health Care’s Educational Bridge Center, 555 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605.