Fort Dodge — Dale E. "Gene" O’Connor, 75, died Feb. 27 at Fort Dodge. He was born Jan. 12, 1936, at Hoisington, the son of John William and Nola (Colhour) O’Connor.
He was a member of Beta Theta Pi, Blue Key Club, and president of his senior class at Kansas State University where attended on a full track scholarship and was a five-time Big Eight hurdler champion. He missed qualifying for the 1956 Olympics by one one-hundredth of a second. He competed in the Air Force World-wide in 1960. He was a men’s outdoor All American in 1956 and a men’s indoor individual hurdler champion in 1957. He was inducted into the Kansas State Athletic Hall Of Fame in 1995 and the Drake Relays Athletes Hall of Fame in 1959.
He earned an MBA from the Wharton School of business. He worked in banking in the Kansas City area for over 25 years. In 1991, he returned to Hoisington to teach and coach high school students. He was also an instructor and trustee at Barton County Community College.
Gene lived at Kansas State Soldiers Home for the last six years. He was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force from 1958 to 1961, during which time he attended Interceptor and Weapons Controller training.
He is survived by two daughters, Megan and husband Bill Brownlee, Prairie Village; Shannon O’Connor, Centennial, Colo.; five grandchildren, Becca and Will Brownlee and Dan, Claire and Reece Christian. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother Bill.
Inurnment service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Kansas Veterans Cemetery, Fort Dodge, with the Rev. Dick Robins presiding. Military rites will be provided by Howard Gotschall Post No. 1714, V.F.W. of Dodge City. Memorial services will follow at Halsey Hall Activity Center in Fort Dodge at 1:30 p.m. Friday with Dr. Billy Manning presiding. There is no visitation as cremation has taken place. Memorials are suggested to Kansas Soldiers Home in Fort Dodge in care of Swaim Funeral Home. Thoughts and memories may be shared in the online guest book at www.swaimfuneralhome.com.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Swaim Funeral Home
1901 6th Ave.
Dodge City, KS 67801
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, March 22, 2011