Clarence P. O’Connor (1919-2003)
My dad. A man content with golfing with his buddies at the Fox Valley Golf Club on Thursdays, bowling for Simon’s Cheese Co. as “Shorty” on Wednesday nights, and howling with the other retired guys at the coffee shop each morning. He was intensely proud, yet quiet about his service in WWII. “I heard that we had entered the war, so closed my textbook and went down to sign up with the other guys.”
By trade he was an accountant and a lawyer thanks to the GI Bill when returning from the war, hence his placemat is woven legal pad paper and 1970’s tax return forms. The gavel represents his 20-year service to his hometown of Kaukauna, Wisconsin as municipal justice, aka ‘Judgey Baby’ by some close friends. When I accompanied him to work one day as a little girl and saw him bang his gavel down and sternly reprimand the man before him, I knew he meant it when he told us he’d ask us to spell our last name if we ever had to appear before him. Yes, sir!
He enjoyed Salem menthols and his sons and sons-in-law enjoyed snitching or bumming one from him on occasion. Old Milwaukee beer is depicted here, but whatever was on sale is what made its way home in a case of 24 returnables.
The small, blue flower on the fork at his place setting represents his son, Patrick, who died shortly after childbirth in 1954.