Francis O'Connor
Francis O'Connor

Obituary of Francis Christopher O'Connor

Please share a memory of Francis to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

Francis Christopher (Skilly) O’Connor 


Francis C. O’Connor, known to all as Skilly, passed away May 5, 2024, with his family by his side. Skilly was born in Elmira, New York, to the late Helen Carey O’Connor and Francis B. (Skilly) O’Connor. He grew up on Lorenzo Place and throughout his life carried with him fond memories of roaming the neighborhood with siblings and friends, spending summers at the family cottage on the river, and helping his dad with their trucking business, O’Connor Express.

Skilly attended St. Patrick’s grammar school and graduated from Elmira Catholic High School. After high school, he served for four years (1954 to 1958) as an Air Intelligence Analyst in the United States Third Air Force, headquartered in South Ruislip, England. Skilly’s years in the Air Force had a profound impact on his life. During this time, he met his future wife, Ann Callingham of Ruislip, England, whom he married on December 28, 1957. He also discovered his love of choral directing, an activity that continued to be important to him. One of his proudest accomplishments was collaborating with his base chaplain, Father Gilchrist, to establish a 35-man choir that sang across many locations in Europe.

Upon his discharge from the Air Force, Skilly and Ann returned to Elmira to raise their family. Skilly began his sales career at Clute Motors, eventually moving to Lyman D. Gridley Mercury. He then went on to establish and run Skilly O’Connor Associates, an office design business on South Walnut Street, before retiring in 2006 from Realty USA.

Skilly had a strong civic and community conscience and belonged to several service organizations, including the Jaycees, the Elks, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Kiwanis Club. He served as the President of the Kiwanis Foundation for many successive terms.

He was committed to his Catholic faith and his church. He was an usher, a lector, and a member of the Finance Committee on the Blessed Sacrament Parish Council. He served as the President of the Board of Directors of the St. Peter & Paul’s Cemetery. Skilly’s Catholic school experience gave him an abiding respect and gratitude for his teachers, both Mercy and St. Joseph nuns, who instilled within him the principles that guided his life and actions. As a result, he was a fervent proponent of Catholic schools. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he worked on the committee that structured and implemented the first large-scale consolidation of the local Catholic schools, successfully sustaining Elmira’s Catholic school system for additional decades.

Skilly was intensely proud of his Irish heritage. As a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, he spearheaded the formation of the Hibernian choir, which he directed for many years. The choir sang at weddings, funerals, and special Masses, including those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Skilly’s legacy is one defined by his values and shaped by his character. He was loyal to his family, his friends, and his city of Elmira; optimistic even in the face of great odds; possessed of a keen intelligence; and driven by an impressive work ethic and sense of responsibility. He was a man of deep courage and tenacity. No problem was too great to be solved; no hurdle too high to overcome. He never gave up. Although larger than life in social settings, he was also quietly content to be with Ann and his family, relishing his home comforts and the company of his pets. He reveled in his role as grandfather and was much adored by his four grandchildren, who happily listened to his stories for hours. 

Skilly’s memory will be cherished by those who survive him: his devoted wife of 66 years, Ann Callingham O’Connor; daughters and sons-in-law, Fiona O’Connor and Ron Norman, Lindsey O’Connor and Doug Fastuca; daughter-in-law, Pam O’Connor; beloved grandchildren, Courtney O’Connor, Sophie Fastuca, Katelyn O’Connor, and Sean O’Connor; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Christine and Roger Ashby, Elizabeth and Percy Sharratt, all residing in England; nieces and nephews in the United States and England; and his Elmira friends, who shared a lifetime of experiences with him. In addition to his parents, Skilly was predeceased by his dear son, Kevin Francis O’Connor; his siblings, Margery Ann O’Connor, Joancarol Adkins, Maryalice Purcell, and Father Jerry O’Connor; and Gwendolyn and Cyril Callingham, his parents-in-law.

Skilly’s family will be forever grateful for the kindness of the staff at Arnot Ogden 5D who went to extraordinary lengths to support and comfort Skilly and his family during his final days. The family would also like to thank Dr. Romeo of IMAST and the doctors, nurses, and office staff at the Arnot Ogden Medical Center Cardiology and Pulmonary practices. Their care enabled Skilly to overcome many health challenges throughout the years.

Services for Skilly will be held privately, but the family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers at this time. For those wishing to remember Skilly, contributions may be made to Notre Dame High School, 1400 Maple Avenue, Elmira, NY 14904 or online at

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Francis O'Connor, please visit our Tree Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Francis
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at McInerny Funeral Home
Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event
About this Event
Francis O'Connor

In Loving Memory

Francis O'Connor

1936 - 2024

Look inside to read what others have shared
Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.
Share Your Memory of