THE death has occurred of well-known funeral director Val O’Connor, one of Cork’s most accomplished businesspeople, and one of the main innovators of the funeral business in Ireland.
Mr O’Connor, who turned 90 in February, passed away on Wednesday night in Marymount Hospice following a short illness. He was surrounded by his loving family.
Mr O’Connor was a founding member of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors and chair of the fundraising committee for the North Cathedral refurbishment.
He was also a committee member of Opera 2005.
O’Connor Bros was established in 1887 in Blarney Street by Thomas F O’Connor.
The company moved to 70 Shandon Street after the company was passed to John Francis and Thomas Finbarr O’Connor, sons of the founder, and subsequently moved to North Gate Bridge, where it is still located, under the ownership of Val O’Connor, grandson of the founder.
O’Connor Bros opened the first funeral home in Ireland in 1967. Prior to this, removals were carried out from hospital morgues or from family homes. O’Connor Bros celebrated its 130th year in business in 2017.
Mr O’Connor was invited to Cork City Hall in January, 2018 where he was honoured with a reception from the then Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald (FF). Speaking to The Echo, Cllr Fitzgerald said he was very sad to hear of the death of Mr O’Connor.
“Val will be remembered for his kind and personal support to those who were bereaved. He had a warm friendly engagement with everyone he met,” said Cllr Fitzgerald. “He was particularly pleased and genuinely honored to be recognised for his families 130th year in business.
“He loved the Lord Mayor’s Office and was humbled to receive the recognition where he praised his family and staff. He was instrumental in restoring the iconic North Cathedral.”
Mr O’Connor is survived by his wife Annette, children Laura, Finbarr, Sally-Ann, and Lisa, and his grandchildren Ian, Alison, Shane and Jenna.