Obituary of Diane E. O'Connor
Diane Evelyn (Harker) O’Connor, 80, of East Killingly, CT, passed away peacefully on Friday, April 2, 2021, in Putnam, CT, surrounded by her loved ones.
Born in Pawtucket, RI, in 1940, she was the daughter of Frederick T. Harker and Marjorie (Houston) Harker. Diane graduated from Rhode Island College in 1962 with a degree in English. After graduating, Diane worked as a teacher in the North Providence Public School system, where she taught grades 5-12. In 1965, Diane married her best friend and the love of her life, Vincent J. O’Connor, who passed away in May of 2020. She left teaching to do what she considered her best work ever: raising their four children.
Always a teacher, Diane later returned to the workforce as a Historical Interpreter for Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA. She viewed her 18 year career at the Village as the perfect nontraditional teaching role, as it allowed her the opportunity to combine her love of learning, history and drama all in a day’s work. Diane excelled at re-enacting everyday life in the 1830’s, portraying characters she had developed herself, the most popular of which was the always witty and theatrical Mrs. Poole.
Upon her retirement from the Village, Diane lovingly cared for her grandchildren, teaching them everything she could, from letters and numbers, to nursery rhymes and poems, and all the songs she knew from her own childhood. She imbued them with a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. She shared with them her love for books, music, maps, mythology, different cultures, outer space and everything that she felt made life more interesting. And her grandchildren are all the better for it.
When not with the grandkids, Diane and her husband Vinnie enjoyed adventuring; traveling throughout New England, visiting their favorite spots, such as Moosehead Lake, ME, Charleston, RI and their own back porch, enjoying each other’s company and friendship. They were true soulmates. Diane had a quick wit and an easy laugh. It was something Vinnie adored about her, even when he was the target of her humor.
Diane leaves behind her daughters Suzanne Gosselin (Brian) of Danielson, CT; Margaret “Peggy” Trahan (Dale) of Norwich, CT; Eileen Carlson (John) of Farmington, CT; and her son Sean O’Connor of East Killingly, CT. She is also survived by her 11 adoring grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. She was the sister of Martha Butterfield of NJ, Deborah Furia of RI, and Geoffrey Harker of GA.
Calling hours will be Wednesday, April 7, 2021 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at Gagnon and Costello Funeral Home, 33 Reynolds Street, Danielson, CT. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Private at Our Lady of LaSallette Church, Brooklyn, CT. Burial in Diamond Hill Cemetery, Cumberland, RI. Please share a favorite memory of Diane at www.gagnonandcostellofh.com