Dec. 20, 1928 – Nov. 2, 2019
Mary Lou O’Connor, of Kenmore, active as a Girl Scout and a scout leader for more than 50 years, died Nov. 2 in the Weinberg Residence, Getzville, after a lengthy illness. She was 90.
Born in Kenmore, the former Mary Lou Hawkins was the daughter of a general contractor, the youngest of four children and the only girl.
She was a 1947 graduate of Holy Angels Academy and earned a degree in fashion merchandising from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1950. She and William M. O’Connor, who became an office manager for Greater Buffalo Press, were married in 1951.
Before and after raising her family, she worked in retail at AM&A’s stores in downtown Buffalo and Sheridan Plaza in the Town of Tonawanda, at the Jacqueline Shoppe in Kenmore and at Dan Howard Maternity in the Northtown Plaza in Amherst.
A Girl Scout in her youth, as an adult Mrs. O’Connor was a troop leader, neighborhood chairman and member of the Girl Scout Council board of directors. She also was a member of the council’s Wider Opportunities Committee and the History and Archives Committee.
She was a parishioner of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Kenmore for most of her life, served as a Eucharistic minister and was a member of the Women’s Sodality and the Right to Life Committee.
In 1980, she was a recipient of the St. Anne Award from the Youth Department of the Diocese of Buffalo for her service to Catholic girls.
A volunteer at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site for 25 years, she was co-manager of the museum shop. In 1999, she received the Barbara Berryman Brandt Volunteer Award for her service there.
She also was a volunteer driver for the Western New York Food Shuttle from 1993 to 2010.
“She really instilled in us how important volunteerism is,” her daughter Kathleen Benzaquin said.
In addition to her husband and daughter, survivors include five other daughters, Eileen Cobb, Margaret O’Connor, Betsy White, Brigid Cotton and Sheilagh O’Connor; two sons, William M. Jr. and Thomas; and 11 grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held Wednesday, Nov. 6, in St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 33 Victoria Blvd., Kenmore.