Lismore farewells veteran policeman
By ZOE SATHERLEY
THE DRINKS were on the late Jim O'Connor yesterday ? NSW's oldest retired police officer.
His son, Greg O'Connor, from Sydney, told the congregation at St Carthage's Cathedral that his father would have loved nothing more than being able to pay for his final shout.
He invited everyone to join the family at Lismore's Rous Hotel after the burial service and requiem mass, conducted by Father Charles Kakumanu.
Jim O'Connor died peacefully at St Joseph's Nursing Home, Lismore, on October 22, aged 101.
Born in a simple slab bark cottage, he left his family's potato farm at Ben Lomand, near Glen Innes, in 1928, to join the NSW police force in Sydney.
Lismore was his first posting.
Many others followed including Grafton and Bangalow, before he returned to Lismore in 1938, where he eventually retired in 1964.
As the senior officer in Lismore, Sgt 1st Class Jim O'Connor was commended twice for his efforts in the 1945 Lismore floods.
Police yesterday formed a guard of honour for his funeral procession.
Greg O'Connor spoke of his father as 'a good, honest, yet old-fashioned policeman'.
"He was very good with his fists and giving a boot up the backside. He once told me he had been in over 50 fist fights," Mr O'Connor said.
"He was a classic country policeman. He might have been a bit rough but he was willing to give you a fair go.
"He was tolerant and fair. I never heard him curse or swear."
Mr O'Connor highly praised the dedication, love and care of the staff at St Joseph's Nursing Home and Ozanam Villa, where his father lived for 11 years and said they had become like family to his father.
The late Mr O'Connor is survived by his children, Greg and Paul O'Connor, of Sydney and Margaret Martin, of Brisbane, 11 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.