Wednesday, August 18, 2021

John Timothy O'Connor, Katherine Jean Bruce, and their children

John O'Connor and Katherine (Bruce) O'Connor were my great-great-grandparents. Their daughter Emily (O'Connor) Thielen was my great-grandmother, and her son William Thielen was my grandfather.

John Timothy O'Connor
born March 9, 1863 in Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky
died July 30, 1924 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Katherine Jean (Bruce) “Bema” O'Connor
born January 31, 1872 in Mankato, Blue Earth County, Minnesota
died July 4, 1960 in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin

John O'Connor was born to Irish immigrant parents Timothy O'Connor and Mary O'Reilly and baptized at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Maysville, Kentucky during the Civil War. His family moved to Minnesota in 1867, where he grew up. He spent his career at J. I. Case Company in Racine, where he worked in the steam engine shop.

Katherine Bruce was the daughter of Franklin Bruce, a disabled Civil War veteran, and Anna “Annie” (Connor) Bruce. She grew up in Mankato before moving to the Twin Cities, where she met her future husband. She received the nickname “Bema” from a grandchild who struggled to say “Grandma.”
John and Katherine were married in about 1890 and had nine children. They lived in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, and Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, until 1898, when they moved to Racine. Their oldest four children were born in the Twin Cities and the youngest five in Racine. John died in 1924 and was buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Racine. Katherine lived 36 more years, dying in 1960 at the Racine County Hospital. She was buried with her sons Bolivar and Jack Tim and daughter-in-law Birdie at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant.

Their nine children:
  1. Charles Edward “Charlie” O'Connor (1890-1974)
  2. John Timothy “Jack Tim” O'Connor Sr. (1893-1965)
  3. Anna Katherine “Annie” (O'Connor) Novine Glidden (1894-1977)
  4. Emily Etta (O'Connor) Thielen (1897-1974)
  5. Robert O'Connor (1899-????)
  6. Dorothy Alice “Toots” (O'Connor) Sullivan (1903-1994)
  7. unnamed infant son (1905-1905)
  8. Kathryn Jean “Mike” (O'Connor) Brush Baker (1910-1992)
  9. Franklin Dan “Bolivar” O'Connor (1912-1930)

1. Charles Edward “Charlie” O'Connor
born December 16, 1890 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota
died May 20, 1974 in Seal Beach, Orange County, California

Charlie grew up in the Twin Cities like his siblings before moving to Racine. He worked as an auditor for J. I. Case Company and later for Air Research Manufacturing Company in Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California. Charlie served in the Balloon Corps of the U.S. Army during World War I, although the war ended before he finished training. He again served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Charlie married Margaret Frances Van Wormer in 1924 in Janesville, Rock County, Wisconsin, and they had one daughter, Shirley. Margaret died on July 30, 1968 in Los Angeles, and Charlie died in 1974. They were cremated and their ashes placed inside a book-shaped container in the Library of Golden Memories at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood.

2. John Timothy “Jack Tim” O'Connor
born March 27, 1893 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota
died January 22, 1965 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Jack Tim, who lived in Racine his whole life after moving from the Twin Cities as a child, worked at J. I. Case Company and later as a salesman for Progressive Dairy. He married Bertha J. “Birdie” Larsen in about 1917. They had one son, John Jr.. Jack Tim died in 1965, and Birdie died in February 1980 in Racine. They are buried next to Jack Tim's mother and brother Bolivar at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant.

3. Anna Katherine “Annie” (O'Connor) Novine Glidden
born December 7, 1894 in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
died July 20, 1977 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Annie spent her first few years in the Twin Cities before moving with her family to Racine, where she lived for the rest of her life. She worked as a packer at a candy factory, a waitress, a clerk, and finally worked for Nevins Foods for over twenty years. Her first husband was Donald Garth Novine, an employee of J. I. Case Company, who she married on April 19, 1921 in Racine. They had two sons, Patrick and Richard, before divorcing. Donald died on February 7, 1964 at Saint Luke's Hospital in Racine and is buried at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant. Annie's second husband was Warren Chancy “George” Glidden, who she married on May 20, 1943, after his divorce from his first wife was finalized less than three weeks prior. George was an inspector at J. I. Case Company. He died on May 7, 1956 in Racine and Annie died at Westview Nursing home in Racine in 1977. Annie and George are buried together at Graceland Cemetery in Racine.

4. Emily Etta (O'Connor) Thielen
born November 3, 1897 in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
died July 1, 1974 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Emily made the moved from the Twin Cities to Racine when she was very young. She married Mathias John “Matt” Thielen on May 2, 1917, at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Racine. They had two sons, Charles and William. After Charlie's death in World War II, Emily was active in the Gold Star Mothers. She also was active in the Navy Mothers Club. Matt worked at J. I. Case Company, starting as a timekeeper in the blacksmith shop and rising to the position of foreman. Matt died of rectal cancer at Saint Mary's Hospital in Racine on February 12, 1960. Emily died of breast cancer in 1974, also at Saint Mary's Hospital. Emily and Matt are buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia, Racine County, Wisconsin, with their granddaughter Mary Beth Thielen and their daughter-in-law's mother.

5. Robert O'Connor
born December 25, 1899 in Racine County, Wisconsin
died ????

Robert lived in Racine until at least 1910, but goes missing from the records after that. He may have died or left Racine.

6. Dorothy Alice “Toots” (O'Connor) Sullivan
born June 9, 1903 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died July 24, 1994 in Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida

Toots spent most of her life in Racine. She married Daniel Michael “Danny” Sullivan Sr. in about 1925. Danny had served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and worked as a newspaper printer for the Racine Journal Times. Toots and Danny had two sons. Danny died on February 14, 1980 in Racine, and Toots died in Florida in 1994. They are buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia, near to Toots' sister Emily and brother-in-law Matt Thielen.

7. unnamed infant son
born August 23, 1905 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died August 23, 1905 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

John and Katherine had an unnamed son who was either stillborn or died the same day he was born.

8. Kathryn Jean “Mike” (O'Connor) Brush Baker
born November 21, 1910 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died June 5, 1992 in San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California

Mike worked as a bookkeeper and payroll clerk at J. I. Case Company. She spent most of her life in Racine, later moving to Running Springs, San Bernardino County, California. She married her first husband, Roy Lester Brush Sr., on October 28, 1939 in Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa. They had one son, Roy, before divorcing. Roy Sr. worked as an automobile repairman. He died on February 21, 1966 in Kenosha, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, and is buried at Sunset Ridge Memorial Park in Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Mike's second husband was Vernon Harry “Vern” Baker, a World War II U.S. Army veteran. Mike died in 1992 and Vern died on November 21, 1994 in Riverside County, California. They are buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, Riverside County, California.

9. Franklin Dan “Bolivar” O'Connor
born November 28, 1912 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died November 27, 1930 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Bolivar's given name, Franklin, was the same as his maternal grandfather Franklin Bruce. He died at his mother's home when he was only eighteen years old. Bolivar was buried next to his mother, brother Jack Tim, and sister-in-law Birdie at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant.

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