Former Aurora Mayor Robert J. O’Connor Has Died At 78

Professional photo of former Aurora mayor Robert J. O'Connor
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Former Aurora mayor Robert James O’Connor died at home on September 15, the city of Aurora reported Monday. He was 78.

Longtime Public Servant

O’Connor was the 58th mayor of Aurora, serving from 2016 to 2017. He was also a nine-term alderman-at-large for the city, first elected in 1985. During the entirety of his 36-year run he served on the Finance Committee, acting as chairman for all but four of those years. Professionally, he was an attorney, working in the fields of real estate and estate planning.

“Aurora has lost one of its most dedicated public servants,” said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “With a heavy heart, we mourn the passing of my predecessor and revered colleague on the Aurora City Council, the 58th Mayor of Aurora, Robert J. O’Connor. I admire the life he lived, the lessons he taught, and the legacy he left. He is the statesman of Aurora who will forever be remembered for his unwavering commitment to his beloved hometown.”

Dedicated Aurora Resident

O’Connor was a long-time Aurora resident, born there in 1944. He graduated from East Aurora High School, and then moved on to the University of Illinois. He got his law degree from the University of Notre Dame.

He kept himself busy, serving as a volunteer in citizenship classes at the Dominican Literacy Center. He served on a number of boards, including the Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging, the Illinois Council on Aging, the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, the Administrative Board for Phillips Park and Splash Country Aquatic Centers, the Aurora Public Library Board of Directors, and the Aurora Police Foundation Board of Directors.

He’s survived by his wife Mary, sons Thomas and John, and four grandchildren.


On Tuesday night, the Aurora City Council will pay tribute to O’Connor at the end of its meeting. The meeting is being streamed live on the City of Aurora Facebook page, and begins at 6 p.m. Memorial remarks about O’Connor are expected to begin closer to 7 p.m.

A public visitation will be held at the Healy Chapel in Aurora on Sunday, October 16 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. The funeral and internment will be private.

Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.

photo courtesy: City of Aurora

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