Fulkerson - Stevenson Funeral Home It's all about saying goodbye. Springan - Stevenson Funeral Home
Fulkerson - Stevenson Funeral Home
Springan - Stevenson Funeral Home
It's all about saying goodbye.
Richard Keith O'Connor
August 11, 1923 - January 8, 2018

Place of Birth: Fairview, Montana
Age: 94

Richard was born August 11, 1923 in Fairview, MT, one of 11 children. When he was 2 years old his family moved north of Poplar, MT, and that’s where he grew up. At 15 he bought his first horse for $8.00, which he earned collecting and selling horsehair. Dick broke Flash to ride and had him so well broke that his Dad made Dick sell him when a gentleman later offered $40.00 for him. That was the beginning of a lifetime career training horses.
Dick graduated in 1941 from Poplar High School and joined the Navy in 1942. He spent most of WWII in New Guinea and the Philippines. He fixed rangefinders on naval ships and calibrated them out to 10,000 yards. One of his favorite memories was of a day when he was boxing and a guy walking by asked to get in the ring with him. Dick thought himself a pretty good boxer so he said sure. He was surprised when he couldn’t get a punch in, until he later learned he had been boxing Freddie Cochran, the 1941 World Welterweight Champion!
Dick got out of the service in 1945 as a Machinist, Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class. He went to college in Missoula and Seattle and later eloped with Jeanne Berry and her son Jerry, from Jordan to Osceola, Missouri, in 1949. There he bought feeder hogs, fed them out and sold them, bought and sold cattle, and broke and sold horses until they had a little nest egg. They returned to Montana in 1952 and purchased the land that they built into a beautiful ranch, north of Poplar and Wolf Point.
Dick’s daughter, Dawn, was born in 1958. Jeanne was sick in the hospital shortly after, and the nurses were concerned about how he was caring for the new baby. He told them not to worry. When Dawn needed a bath he just held her by the hair and dunked her up and down in the water tank and she cleaned up just fine! Dick shared his sense of humor, a string of good horses, and his love of reading and learning with his family.
In 1969 Jeanne lost her battle with cancer, and Dick was left to raise an 11 year old daughter by himself. He worked hard on his ranch, cooked for and cleaned up after numerous hired men over the years, and you could eat off his floors, they were so clean. He had a special way with animals and continued to train good horses. Dick could reach up and take his horse’s bridle off and he would work just as good without it.
In 1982 Dick married Wava Lee, and after years of doing everything himself, he had a new partner to share his life with. They had fun working on the ranch together, and dancing wherever they went. They were quite the pair and people would often comment how much they enjoyed watching them dance. On their anniversary one year, they surprised the cows by jumping out of the pickup and dancing in the grass as the radio played their favorite song, “Look at Us” by Vince Gill.
They sold the ranch in 1999, and “retired” to a small place east of Sidney where he could raise his horses and run yearlings during the summer. Dick owned a great stud, Winning Little Leo, and raised many colts that he trained and sold all over the country. Not one to just give his horses away, Dick ultimately gave his favorite horse, Hallmark Smoke, to his granddaughter Megan. Smoky turned out to be that once-in-a-lifetime horse for her. Dick trained his last horse at age 90, when he could no longer see.
Even though the going was not always easy for Dick, his inherited Scotch thriftiness, coupled with his Irish tenacity and a good sense of humor, carried him through much adversity and hardship. He talked to “Baby Jesus” a lot, and I think God appreciated his humor and positive outlook, too.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents, Daniel Joseph and Margaret Keith O’Connor, brothers Dan, John, Chris, James, baby Charles, and Lawrence O’Connor, sisters Birdie Paris, Margaret Jones and Rosemary Mills, first wife, Jeanne Berry O’Connor, and second wife, Wava O’Connor.
Dick is survived by his sister, Betty Jane Snyder, daughter, Dawn (Scott) Greenwood of Sidney, stepson, Dallas O’Connor, and grandchildren, Megan Greenwood and Tracy O’Connor.

Memorial Contribution
In lieu of flowers, please spend time riding a good horse and enjoying God’s country, or reading to a child.

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tom scheetz
Jan 10, 2018
Dick was one of a kind . I rember during the fire of 99 him out driving in his checking on the fire.
Kevin and Katy Frazier (Ponca City, Oklahoma)
Jan 10, 2018
Prayers and condolences.
Barb Anderson (Culbertson , Montana)
Jan 10, 2018
Our condolences.
Loved watching your dad whirl hiis dance partners around the Legion dance floor.
Donna Lynn Mann (Wolf Point, Montana)
Jan 10, 2018
My condolences to Dawn and Dallas and the rest of the family. I know it is hard to say goodbye, but Uncle Dick left a lasting impression on all who knew him and he will be missed. He enjoyed most of his 94 years and can be proud of his skills with horse training. He had a knack for it that not many can claim, but hired help he lacked a few skills in that area. Patience not so much. Ralph and I worked for him and I flunked the cooking part. I was suppose to cook in the pressure cooker and I didn't. (Scared to death of them.) No worry I was not scared of him or his set ways. When he went to Seattle he would bring me home a nice down filled jacket that I would get really cheap so I would look good when I met him at the Stockman's Bar for a afternoon toddy on snow or rain days. One Aunt left, Betty Jane, of the O'Connor bunch and that is so sad. RIP Uncle Dick you may be gone but not forgotten. Love your favorite niece, Donna Lynn
Virginia Oraw (Dickinson , ND)
Jan 10, 2018
Dawn, I was so sorry to read of your father’s death. I know how close you were to him, may you remember all the good times. God bless you.
Kevin and Katy Frazier (Ponca City, Oklahoma)
Jan 11, 2018
Prayers and condolences.
Kevin and Katy Frazier (Ponca City, Oklahoma)
Jan 11, 2018
Prayers and condolences.
Kevin and Katy Frazier (Ponca City, Oklahoma)
Jan 11, 2018
Prayers and condolences.
Kevin and Katy Frazier (Ponca City, Oklahoma)
Jan 11, 2018
Prayers and condolences.
Michael Bryan (Merced, Ca.)
Jan 11, 2018
My condolences to your family Megan and Dallas. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad.
Peg Crane (Mott, ND)
Jan 11, 2018
My Mom, Jane, is a first cousin, on the O’Connor side (daughter of his uncle James Richard). 90 now, Richard’s family had moved before she was born, but she remembers how exciting it was to have her cousins stop in for a visit when they were passing by. She remembers Richard was always nice to “us little kids”. It is very hard to see this generation of O’Connors leave this earth. They all sure knew how to live with gusto. His smile tells it all.
Kelly Dey
Jan 11, 2018
Dawn and family,
Condolences on your father's passing. Prayers as you weather this difficult time.
Dawn Pemberton Bahls
Jan 11, 2018
So sorry to hear of Dick's passing. I always loved visiting with him when he would come in to CHMS.
Carolyn Koch (Gallatin Gateway, Montana)
Jan 11, 2018
Please except my condolences,no matter how old you are, it’s so hard to loose your father, grandfather and friend!
Becky Heinle (Park City, Mt)
Jan 13, 2018
So sorry to hear this, everytime I seen him he either wanted to barter about something or sell me a horse. Always made me smile.
Sheila
Jan 14, 2018
I am very sorry to read of the death of your beloved Mr O'Connor. I didn't know him but after reading his obituary, I surely wish I had. What a life he had! Even tho he has fallen asleep in death, we all have the opportunity to visit with him when God does as he has promised and resurrects him to perfect health right here on the earth. To learn more about this promise, please visit JW.org. There you can read the Bible online and many well written articles on Bible subjects. May you have a blessed day.
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