2001-03-10 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

Chatting With Chapey

Myra O’Connor: A Woman Who Made A Difference

We were very saddened to hear of the sudden death of a good friend, Myra O'Connor. Myra was the daughter of our elected Democratic State Committeewoman Patricia Young O'Connor.

Myra and her mother shared a very close friendship, which I value because of my relationship with my own mother. Myra had a very strong sense of purpose.  She deeply valued her Irish roots, which she inherited from both her mother and her father. Her parents instilled a love of Ireland in their children by fostering an appreciation of their Irish heritage.

Myra was active in the Irish community.  To be Irish means to be gregarious, warm, joyous, loyal and compassionate. Being Irish is having a powerful heritage of overcoming obstacles and injustices and turning adversity into challenges, actions and accomplishments with courage and determination. The indomitable, energizing spirit of the Irish has survived, endured and prospered in
Ireland, in America and around the world because they make a significant difference in the quality of people's lives. The Irish are well known for their quick sense of humor, their pride, resilience, determination and
renewal to constantly achieve even greater accomplishments. Myra personified these Irish qualities. She was a true daughter of Erin.

She had a very strong sense of family. She was very nurturing to her
brothers, and their families. She loved people and shared her enthusiasm with her friends and colleagues.  

Myra was imbued by her parents with a love of and respect for learning. The value of learning is intrinsic to the Irish soul. Myra appreciated the opportunity for intellectual growth and cultivated a love of learning and a desire for knowledge. She valued books as treasures. She looked forward to family trips to the library, to the museums and to the parks. Through these excursions, whether near or far, her parents expanded her perspective and encouraged her to grow while exploring the world around her. Her love of these adventures led her to a professional career at TWA where she worked for
20 years and at Atlas Air where she worked for five years.

Her professional reputation was sterling.  Her parents passed down to her the value of hard work and perseverance. She passed on these values to her colleagues.  Her co-worker Ken Ryngala spoke at her funeral. He noted that she had a very serious and demanding position. She was responsible for the training and re-certification of the pilots. This required the coordination of the training classes to coincide with the schedule of the pilots who were
literally going around the world.  All of the classes had to be taken within
a certain time frame so that the pilots could quality for their licenses.

Despite the difficult nature of her work and the extensive coordination of schedules Myra always had time for colleagues.  Mr. Ryngala illustrated this be telling us of an incident which was very indicative of Myra's helpful personality and her willingness to reach out to others. Ken Ryngala had been scheduled several months previously to conduct training sessions. Myra was relying on him. He called Myra on the last moment and told her that his daughter was in Europe and needed emergency surgery. Myra encouraged him to
be with his daughter despite the major disruption that this would cause to her training program. Myra was a true friend to anyone who needed her
assistance.

Myra was dedicated to her Irish heritage, her family and her profession. Myra's spirit will live on forever in the hearts and minds of those with whom she came in contact.  


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