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Inez O'Connor: Former KPHS Teacher, Volunteer, World Traveler

Inez O'Connor taught Home Economics in Kings Park High School for 35 years. She retired in 1980 and has not stopped moving since.

At 86 years old, Inez O'Connor has more energy than those half her age.  Most residents know her as "the walker" who is out at the crack of dawn doing her daily 2 mile walk.  She gets her walk in early so that she can do her work out later in the day at Curves.

Upon graduating from Plattsburgh State Teachers' College in 1945, Inez settled in Kings Park.  She immediately began working in the high school as a Home Economics teacher.

" I loved working in Kings Park," said O'Connor. " The parents were wonderful.  The kids were wonderful."  She said it was a different time. "The kids knew if they sassed you and you called home, there would be trouble at the doorstep."

O'Connor was the first woman ever to ask for, and be granted, a maternity leave in the Kings Park school system. Today, she has 6 grown children, 19 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren (with another on the way). Visits to family include trips to Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.  

Once a year, O'Connor goes on an international adventure with her younger sister. Some of their favorite trips have been to India, Thailand, Vietnam, Machu Pichu, and Africa. This year's trip will be an Adriatic cruise to Montenegro and Croatia. O'Connor loves experiencing other cultures and often returns home grateful and edified. While visiting Normandy, O'Connor recalls being moved by the soldiers' gravestones, some of which had crucifixes, others Jewish stars. She was touched by the fact that in life they may have fought against each other, in death they were buried beside each other.

When at home, O'Connor can often be found selling raffles for the Smithtown Lionesses yearly drawing. This year organization is purchasing a seeing eye dog.  They also donate to local charities for battered women and those affected by diabetes and other dibilitating illnesses. She is also an active member of St. Joseph's Catholic Daughters of America, the Retired Teachers Association and the Kings Park Senior Citizens and volunteers three times a week at the Methodist Church Thrift Shop.

 O'Connor loves her hometown of Kings Park. "I find it so very friendly and outgoing.  That parade (St. Patrick's Day) was the greatest thing in the world. It was so uniting."

She enjoys seeing former students and the children of former students around town. That and her her philosophy of keeping busy and exercising are what keep her young. Having survived both lung cancer and a stroke, Inez O'Connor does not let a day go by when she doesn't live life to its fullest.  She is a Kings Parker you should get to know.

Peggy Gilmartin May 12, 2011 at 12:31 AM
My brother Tim loves to cook because of this lovely woman. He took Boys Cooking class with her in 1968-69. The guys used to throw the hot dogs out the window!!!! I see her walking everyday on my way to work...I toot my horn, and she always gives the wave! I have homemade baby bibs that she made for my girls when they were born, and now I used them for my Granddaughter. A wonderful woman, so glad I know her.
Debbie Benson May 12, 2011 at 11:39 AM
I think Ed Reddy would be a nice article!
kptree May 12, 2011 at 12:17 PM
I love this series of articles! Inez O'Connor is an inspiring woman. I knew her when I was a little kid and this article confirmed the impression I always had of her- smart, no-nonsense, full of energy. I seem to remember she has a great sense of humor too.
Jennifer Sloat (Editor) May 12, 2011 at 12:53 PM
You may be on to something Debbie... Stay tuned!
Jennifer Sloat (Editor) May 12, 2011 at 12:54 PM
Glad to hear it. Who should we spotlight next? Send us your suggestions, we are all ears!
LIRealEstate May 12, 2011 at 01:05 PM
Inez is one of the strongest women I know. I have known Inez for years and her Granddaughter Courtney is my best friend. Love you Nan!!
Anne Kash May 12, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Dear Mrs O' Connor!! we are honored to have her working as a volunteer at the Lucien Memorial United Methodist ChurchThrift Shop inKings Park. I would slao like to add my mother's name as person of interest in KP...Eunice Kash. Teacher and thrift shop worker.
Denise Creighton May 12, 2011 at 03:01 PM
I LOVE writing this series!! I am very open to all suggestions...keep them coming!!
Peggy Gilmartin May 12, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Totally agree with an Article on Eddie Reddy....George Tiernan...Joan & Frank O'Brien also!!! They have all contributed a lot to Kings Park!!!
JT May 13, 2011 at 12:29 AM
Nan is the best! I grew up playing with her grandchildren in her house and backyard -- she is my Nan too! I have a great deal of respect for her tough cookie attitude and I love that she expects only the best from those around her. I often laugh at her sarcastic sense of humor! I also grew up near Eddie and Ruth Reddy and I think they are equally deserving of an article like this. GREAT KP PEOPLE! The best examples of KP pride....
Nancy Aikens Walsh June 02, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Mrs. O'Connor is an inspiration to all of us who knew her in school and afterwards. I would see her around town and she always had a cheerful hello and her beautiful smile. I miss living in Kings Park, because, as she said, it is the friendliest town. Growing up there was one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me.
Karen Swanson Giuglianotti September 25, 2011 at 12:33 AM
A great loss to Kings Park Mrs. O'Connor was a great lady and a great teacher
Kate Newcomb September 25, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Inez was my teacher a good friend and a wonderful mother, she will be missed, may she rest in peace love Kathleen Newcomb and family.

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