Shaun D. O’Connor, age 56, of Helena, MT, passed away after a brief, severe illness in Reno, NV, on Friday, October 13, 2017.
Shaun was born on May 12, 1961, in Helena, MT, to James (Jim) F. and Barbara L. (Frantz) O’Connor of Helena, MT. He attended grade school in East Helena and graduated from Helena High School in 1980. In high school, Shaun competed in gymnastics and was the State Champion in pommel horse in 1980. After graduating high school, Shaun attended MSU-Northern in Havre, MT, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
After graduating from MSU-Northern, Shaun began working in Helena for the Montana Department of Transportation in the road design division. He worked there for 15 years. During this time, Shaun also worked part-time on the night-shift and at holidays for UPS.
After the Montana Department of Transportation, Shaun began working for Cleveland Wrecking Co. His first assignment was to oversee the safety of the cleanup at the East Helena smelter, Asarco, where his father worked for many years, and where he and his brother worked some summers. Shaun oversaw the safe implosion of the iconic smelter smoke stacks which fell flawlessly, according to him.
Most recently, Shaun worked for Tepa LLC as a Safety Officer on a job at the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, CA. He also completed jobs at Fort Irwin, CA, Yosemite National Park, and others all across the United States.
Shaun, as most Montanans, loved being outdoors, enjoying many activities such as hunting with his brother, Kelly D. O’Connor, and his buddies at their Montana hunting camp, fishing at their “fishing hut” in Sekiu, WA, snowmobiling, riding his Harley Davidson motorcycles (yes, he had two!), attending the annual Sturgis bike rally, skiing, camping, cooking, barbequing and smoking meats, watching all sports, and just hanging out with his family and friends. He loved to socialize. No matter where he was working, Shaun made certain he attended Winter Carnival in Whitefish every February. But no holiday was more important to him than St. Patrick’s Day, which he claimed was “the only real holiday of the year.”
Shaun was a good-hearted, decent man, through and through. He was never in a bad mood, always had a positive outlook in life, and always had a smile on his face that was highly contagious. He had a unique sense of humor that pushed boundaries, enjoying making others laugh both with and at him. He was a truly loyal friend and confidante, always offering to help others, especially those who needed his “handyman” talents or cooking advice.
Shaun was a loving, devoted father to his two daughters, Caitlin and Brianne O’Connor. They meant the world to him. He worked hard his whole life to raise them and set a good example for them. They were very close to him, sometimes going with him fishing, hunting, and to Sturgis and Whitefish just to spend time with him. Despite professing to be “way too young” to become a grandfather, Shaun absolutely adored Caitlin’s daughters, Ryann and Carsynn, and they in return adored their “Grandpa.” His loving and caring soul is going to be greatly missed by all of Shaun’s family and friends.
Shaun was preceded in death by his parents James (“Jim”) F. and Barbara L. (Frantz) O’Connor. He is survived by his brother Kelly (Deborah Clarke) O’Connor of Snoqualmie, WA; his two daughters Caitlin (Brook Swingley) O’Connor of Missoula, MT and Brianne (Ben Hough) O’Connor of Seattle, WA; his two granddaughters Ryann and Carsynn Swingley of Missoula, MT; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
A memorial service celebrating Shaun’s life will be at held 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 26th at SS Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church, 120 W. Riggs St. East Helena, MT 59635. A reception will immediately follow the service at the VFW Post 10010, 117 W. Main St. in East Helena. In lieu of gifts/flowers, memorials are suggested to the East Helena Volunteer Fire Department where his father was a long-time volunteer, at East Helena Fire Department, P.O. Box 1170, East Helena, MT 59635. Please see below to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Shaun.