Chuck O'Connor, age 80

Chuck O'Connor

Chuck O'Connor, age 80, Philip, S.D., died Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, at the Hans P. Peterson Hospital in Philip.
Welcoming their 10-and-a-half pound baby boy, Charles “Chuck” Joseph O’Connor to the world on March 19, 1937, were his parents, Catherine (Murphy) and FJ O’Connor. 
He quickly grew into an energetic young boy who was joined by four siblings, Rita, Bill, Paula and Jim. He attended St. Martin’s Academy, Rapid City, for one year during his elementary school years before continuing and finishing his education in Philip.
In high school, he made money breaking horses so he could take Shirley to the movies. The first car ride he ever gave her was the scariest ride of her life, and she swore she would never ride with him again (but she rode with him for 62 years). He followed her through school and all the way to Oregon before marrying her Nov. 12, 1955. 
To earn money, they picked peaches and worked in a cannery in Oregon so they could buy a car and move back to the ranch in South Dakota. When they made it home, all that was left in their pockets was $7.50, and that is how their story began. 
Ranching was his passion, and Chuck loved the cowboy way of life. Whether it be roping calves out of the back of a pickup, doing a roundup on a lope, or going on long cattle drives, there was always excitement wherever Chuck was. Over the years, he progressed from riding horses to riding four wheelers. He had a unique way of training cattle, with a different method in each instance. Chuck loved to drive, and he was often seen making dust fly by pulling a trailer up and down the road. He was never without a joke or a story to make others laugh, and his wisdom was endless. Chuck had a way of making others laugh, and he never went anywhere that he didn’t run into an old acquaintance or make a new friend. His Irish wit and sense of humor will be remembered by all who knew and loved him. 
Outside of ranching, Chuck was involved in various activities. He enjoyed acting in community plays, he was a board member of the Stockgrowers Association as well as the school board. One of his bigger thrills was racing his horse, Crazy Horse, in the Bad River Suicide Ride. He even chased his roots to Ireland on a trip of a lifetime. At work or play, he made the most of every day. 
Family members grateful for sharing his life include Shirley, his wife of 62 years; one daughter, Shelly (Mike) Peris, Butte, Mont.; two sons, Tim (Susan) O’Connor, Henderson, Nev., and Todd (Laura) O’Connor, Philip; nine grandchildren, Tiekola Fortune, Tomlin O’Connor, Jennifer Murgatroy, Sean Peris, Travis, Caleb and Tara O’Connor, and Race and Paige O’Connor; seven great-grandchildren, Randall Chance “R.C.” Marymee, Olivia and Wyatt Murgatroy, Gavin Peris, Hunter O’Connor, Karisma Devarona, and Noah Faria; one brother, James “Jim” (Phyllis) O’Connor, Cheyenne, Wyo.; brothers-in-law, John Tavernier, Coos Bay, Ore., Chuck Tavernier, Eugene, Ore., and Frank Narcisian of Golden, Colo.; sisters-in-law, Rhoda (Ted) Lufkin, St. Helens, Ore., Virginia Tavernier, Coos Bay, Ore., June Tavernier, Escondido, Calif., and Sandra O’Connor-Gittings (Leo), Philip; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Chuck was preceded in death by his son, Thomas “Tom” O’Connor; his parents; one brother, William “Bill” O’Connor; two sisters, Rita Narcisian and Paula O’Connor; and six brothers-in-law, Roger, Boyd, Jimmy Lee, Bob, Larry and Mike Tavernier.
Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Monday, Aug. 14, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip.
Interment was at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.
Arrangements were with Rush Funeral Home of Philip.

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
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