In memoriam: Paul O'Connor

Paul O'Connor, a long-time professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Chemistry, died at Abbott Northwestern Hospital after a brief illness. He was 92.

Born in Milwaukee, Wis., on February 3, 1921, O’Connor attended Haverford College in Haverford, Penn., where he majored in chemistry and mathematics.

As a graduate student, he participated in a program as part of the Manhattan Project isolating isotopes of plutonium. He signed the Szilárd petition in 1945 urging President Harry Truman not to use the atomic bomb without first offering an observed demonstration.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1947, he came to the University of Minnesota to teach chemistry. During his years at the University, he helped to develop and promote CHEM study, a new curriculum for high school chemistry. Because of this work, he was invited to introduce the curriculum in India and spent five years there between 1964 and 1973. He retired after 26 years and took up his second career as a weaver using his mathematical mind to create complex double weave patterns.

For the next 40 years, O’Connor continued to experiment, teach and publish. He is survived by his children Mike, Maggie, and his grandchildren Elliot, Dan, Robert, and Richard O'Connor.

Memorial services will be held on April 20, 2013 at Walker Place, 3701 Bryant Ave. S. Minneapolis. Visitation at 4 p.m., celebration at 4:30 p.m.