Bob O'Connor was a good friend to South Pittsburgh
September 12, 2006
As I am writing this, our beloved Mayor Bob O'Connor has just been laid to rest. A man that fought so hard to be the mayor only to be in office for a short period of time. And yet was able to accomplish so much.
Mayor O'Connor will have an everlasting impact on the residents of the City of Pittsburgh. A long time resident of Greenfield and Squirrel Hill, his compassion for the city went way further than just the eastern part of the city. Shortly after taking office, Mayor O'Connor was seen touring the streets of Knoxville, Allentown and Beltzhoover ordering abandoned houses and buildings be boarded up or demolished to create a more safe neighborhood for the residents and in particular the youth of our communities.
For many, Bob O'Connor was the people's mayor even before he became the Mayor of this great city. While on city council, O'Connor fought for what was in the best interest of the city and the residents. And if he could have only fulfilled his dream by being mayor longer, without a doubt he would have turned Pittsburgh into a nicer, cleaner place for people to live and work.
No matter what sort of function or activity was going on, as soon as Bob entered the room, his presence brought a smile on so many faces. I will always remember attending the 30th Ward Knoxville Block Watch Annual Dinner and Dance several years ago when he was running for mayor against then Mayor Tom Murphy. After giving a short speech, Mr. O'Connor came over and gave my mother a kiss on the cheek and a hug and asked her, “what can Pittsburgh do for you.” That was the best character of Mayor O'Connor, his compassion and caring for the residents of the city.
His impact on Pittsburgh is no more evident than the overwhelming amount of people that showed up to pay their final respects. For at least one week, people were able to put their differences aside to come and bid a final farewell to a man that spent so many years fighting for what was best for the residents of the city.
While attending the viewing Sunday morning down at the City County Building, it was great to see that when called upon, the residents of this city can come together and put their differences and conflicts aside. This is truly what being a Pittsburgher is all about.
Rest in Peace Mayor Bob O'Connor