The O'Connor family
I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of Mary. She was a wonderful and sweet woman. I always lived spending time with her when I worked at TPR, sending lots of love and prayers to the family.
Mary Craig (Hoggarth) O'Connor Obituary
Our mother, Mary O'Connor, was reunited with our Dad, Gerry O'Connor, and her Dad, R. Bob Hoggarth, Mom Louise Hoggarth and sister Eileen Cangiano on Monday August 1, 2022after 90 years in this world.
Mary was a strong believer in the importance of women's voices in all areas of life and business; in particular in education, where she devoted over 45 years in the service of Catholic Education in Kirkland Lake, in the province of Ontario and in Canada. Mary was the first woman to be the vice chair (1973-1976) and chairperson of the Kirkland Lake Roman Catholic Separate School Board (1977 to 1981) and served on this Board from 1963 until 2003. In 1967, Mary was the first woman to be elected to the Ontario Separate School Trustees Association (OSSTA), where she demonstrated her leadership, conviction to her faith and commitment to the benefit of students, parents, teachers and communities throughout the province. Her focus was on equality in education,funding equity for Catholic Schools from the provinces and support and promotion of the staff who together made a true difference in their roles in their districts and schools. In 1980, Mary became the first woman president of the Trustees Association and served in that role until 1982. In 1994, while still serving at both levels of Boards, Mary received the Award of Merit in recognition of outstanding service rendered on behalf of Catholic Education in Ontario. Mary also served on the Canadian Catholic School Trustees Association's Board of Directors from 1998 to 2002 and she received the prestigious Rotary International Paul Harris Award for her many contributions to the community. She also received the Catholic Women's League 50 year pin in 2009.
The greatest gifts our Mom gave to us were her patience, her nurturing, and understanding of all of us in our many stages of life. She was the master of meal planning, preparation, home decorating and budgeting for the household. She was our most enthusiastic fan for any sport, school event or activity we participated in. She made it clear that you committed to an activity and stayed with it for the season, the year or until its natural end. She was the marketer, bookkeeper and business partner with our Dad at Hoggarth Interiors or what we in the family referred to as “the store”. Mom's Dad, Bob Hoggarth started the business in the 1940's and our grandmother Louise Hoggarth ran it when he became ill and passed.Mom graduated from St. Michael's Hospital as a nurse in 1953. Her training came in handy with 6 active children in the home! Dad and Mom returned to Kirkland Lake from Toronto in 1954 to manage and ultimately buy the store. It was a true family business, where, during our lives, all six of us had a role of some type in the store. Sean carries on the family tradition of the business as its current owner and operator. Both of our parents were very committed to community service and also quietly contributed to many people's lives and causes that we have learned about over time – from those who have benefitted from their care, concern and generosity.
Steadfast in her love of our Dad, the 'bigger than life' co-leader of our family, their love was over 50 years strong when Dad died in May of 2003. They demonstrated to us, on a daily basis, the importance of understanding, kindness, devotion and equality in a relationship. We never heard an angry word between them, or a critical remark of the other. Not that they always agreed, but they let the conversation continue when cooler heads could discuss concerns rationally.
Mary believed that mediation was the best tool to resolve differences of opinion, and used this as the guide at the O'Connor family dinner table when debating about just about anything arose. And they arose (and still arise!) often. Her view was to hold to your principles, communicate them clearly and diplomatically and understand that not everyone will agree with you all of the time, but may come to agree with you in the future. Her optimism and positive nature, her warmth and laughter, sparkling blue eyes and quiet command of a room or situation left an impression on us and many; she accomplished a great deal for Catholic education; and education overall in the region, province and country.
The O'Connor family thanks the staff and volunteers of Teck Pioneer Residence, Dr. Jessica Moore and especially the staff of the Toburn Unit. Our Mom received genuine care and love from the staff over the years she spent there. Mary is also survived by her brother Bob, and his wife Simone Hoggarth and brother-in-law Don Cangiano. A special thanks to Mary's special friend and caregiver Joyce Davis.
This tribute was written by her children who are also supported by their families, Michael O'Connor, Mississauga, Patrick O'Connor, Kirkland Lake, Kathleen O'Connor (Paul Steinberg) Phoenix, AZ , Sean O'Connor (Nancy O' Connor), Kirkland Lake, Tim O'Connor (Casey O'Connor) Georgetown, Maryann Klunder (Bernie Klunder) Binbrook, and grandchildren Marissa Steinberg, Elise Schnackenberg, Avery Steinberg, Lauren O'Connor-Byer, Kristyn O'Connor, Neil O'Connor, Natalee O'Connor, Amy O'Connor, Ben Klunder, Chris Klunder, Alana Anderson and Deandra Klunder and her 13 great grandchildren.
Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, August 5, 2022 at Holy Name of Jesus Parish at 11:00 am with Father Justin Dawson officiating.
Donations in memory of Mary may be mailed to Holy Name Parish Catholic Women's League (39 Kirkland Street, Kirkland Lake, ON P2N 2G3) or to Teck Pioneer Residence Activity Fund (145 A Government Road East, Kirkland Lake, ON P2N 3P4).