TORRINGTON – Patrick Charles O’Connor, 68, passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 25, 2021. Pat was born in Aberdeen, S.D., July 31, 1952. His family moved to Hot Springs, S.D., where he graduated high school in 1970. As a kid, Pat worked from an early age. He delivered papers and worked countless hours at the local grocery store in South Dakota. He also enjoyed watching his oldest brother drag race. He attended Chadron State College and earned a teaching degree in Industrial Arts. He was a teacher and coach at Lingle-Ft. Laramie for forty years. He coached football, wrestling and track. He had a lot of success as a coach, including being a part of multiple state championships, induction into the Wyoming Coach’s Hall of Fame and numerous other coaching accolades. Someone described Pat as a teacher/coach who impacted more young people in one year than the average person does in a lifetime.
On June 7, 1975, Pat married Shelley Tubbs and to this union was born one son, Ryan, who later married Cortney. They gave Pat and Shelley two granddaughters, Josephine and Irelynn.
In retirement, Pat enjoyed being a substitute teacher in Goshen County and worked at old Fort Laramie seasonally. His most prized job in retirement was being the best grandpa to Josephine and Irelynn. Other passions included fishing, poker, community service, regularly attending Catholic mass and road trips with Shelley.
A few retirement highlights included going to a Notre Dame football game with his son, Ryan, and a few good buddies, and a road trip to Ireland with his Thoren family in 2017.
Pat never knew a stranger and made friends wherever he went. His dedication to teaching and coaching extended into the lives of his students and peers. His devotion to his students and athletes was unmatched. He was more than just a teacher; he would drop anything to support, listen to and help his students and athletes. He did the same for his peers. Some of his best friends were fellow coaches and those who knew Pat knew he loved socializing with his friends at the annual Wyoming Coaches Association Clinic. He was a legend of a man, known and loved by many across the state of Wyoming. He will forever be missed, but his legacy of working hard, having fun, and giving to others will always remain in the hearts and lives of those who knew him.
Pat is survived by his wife Shelley of Torrington; son Ryan (Cortney Thoren) O’Connor of Thermopolis; granddaughters Josephine and Irelynn of Thermopolis; brothers Don (Mary) O’Connor of Ft. Pierce, S.D., Dick (Mary) O’Connor and Mike (Reina) O’Connor all of Hot Springs, S.D.; sister Peggy (Jim) Moos of Panama City Beach, Fla.; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Alvin and Magdalene O’Connor.
The family will be having a small church service and rosary with immediate family and there will be a celebration of life that everyone is welcome to attend in July in Lingle on the football field. In lieu of flowers, the family will be starting a local scholarship in Pat’s name where donations are welcome. Check donations can be made to Shelley or Cortney O’Connor or cash donations can be dropped off at any Pinnacle Bank location for the Pat O’Connor Memorial.