Roderick Beales O'Connor

October 12, 1927 - April 14, 2022


Obituary For Roderick Beales O'Connor

The service will be streamed live on Facebook and can viewed by visiting:Funeral Service Roderick B. O'Connor The second half can be viewed by clicking here: PART 2 Funeral Service Roderick B. O'Connor

Rod was born in Scarsdale, NY, the third of seven children. He graduated from Scarsdale High School in 1945. After high school, Rod was drafted into the army and went to Japan with the Occupation Forces. Rod moved to Charlotte, North Carolina after the war to work with Piedmont Airlines which was a brand new company. He liked to say he did everything except fly the planes. During that time, he decided to enter the priesthood. He earned a degree in Philosophy from St. Bonaventure University in 1953, and then went to Italy and earned a degree in Theology from North American College (Rome) in 1957. While in seminary, Rod loved to travel, and spent time bicycling through Bavaria, and exploring Ireland, Spain, and Portugal with friends.

He then moved back to North Carolina and his ministry included directing Charlotte Catholic High School, and then Cardinal Gibbons High School. Rod served as superintendent of Catholic Orphanage Nazareth House from 1963- 1972. During this time, he earned his Master’s degree in Social Work from UNC- Chapel Hill. In 1974, Rod decided to leave the priesthood but remained an active member of the Catholic church.

Rod met his wife Sylvia in North Carolina, and throughout their 47 years of marriage, they traveled and enjoyed life with good friends and good food. His career as a social worker eventually led him back to the position of Director of the Raleigh office of Catholic Charities from which he retired in 2000. Rod was dedicated to social justice; he was a founding member of Amnesty International Group 213 (Raleigh), and traveled several times with Witness for Peace and Habitat for Humanity. He volunteered countless hours to Catholic Parish Outreach. After his retirement, Rod served as a Guardian ad Litem for children involved in the judicial system. He participated in Moral Mondays, and was arrested for his peaceful protest. Rod was very supportive of his daughter’s dance education, and performed as a guest several times with the Raleigh Civic Ballet Company.

Rod is survived by Sylvia, their daughter Renee, and three grandchildren, and Rod’s older brother Kevney and older sister Peggy. He was adored by many nieces and nephews, and extended family and friends.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”. —Winston Churchill

A service will be held at Renaissance Funeral Home (7615 Six Forks Rd. Raleigh) on Friday, April 22, 2022 at 1p.

The family asks in lieu of flowers, donations be made to:

Amnesty International Group 213 ℅ Cindy Levine, Treasurer- 400 Bickett Blvd. Raleigh, NC 27608

Transitions LifeCare www.transitionslifecare.org/
250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607

The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project


22 Apr

Memorial Service

01:00 PM

Renaissance Funeral Home 7615 Six Forks Road Raleigh, NC 27615 Get Directions »
by FHW Solutions

Photos & Video

Add New Photos & Video


  • 04/22/2022

    We herinneren Rod als een zeer plezierige man. We leerden Rod en Sylvia kennen via de ijnternationale organisatie 'citizens for international understanding', about 30 years ago when they came with a group to De Lutte in Holland, near the frontiere of Germany. We zijn zelf een paar keer bij de O' connors geweest in Ralleigh. Nice time. We wensen Sylvia en Renee veel sterkte in deze moeilijke tijd. heel veel groeten van Jan en Ine Westerik in de Lutte, Holland

  • 04/21/2022

    Roderick O'Connor was a wonderful man. I met him when he was a priest overseeing Nazareth Catholic Children's Home. He hired me to work there as a houseparent. I had the greatest respect for him. He brought most of the children to my wedding. I never saw him again after my wedding, but he remained a gentle influence in my life. My deepest condolences to his family. Peg Parham

  • 04/21/2022

    My sincere condolences to Sylvia and Renee. I remember when Sylvia and Rod were at our wedding in 2015 and how excited they were that we could finally get married. We had quite a party at our wedding and I will always remember how much Rod enjoyed himself.

  • 04/21/2022

    Memories of time spent with Rod always leave smiles. A favorite memory is when we visited Sylvia, Rod and Renee when our oldest had just turned one. Sylvia and Rod had gifted Aaron with a traveling music set - - a cymbol, moraccas, a little drum - - anything that made noise! Renee was about 6 and enjoyed showing Aaron the different uses. But Rod!! Rod grabbed the instruments and got the party started!! He danced and jumped and made celebratory whoops! Both Aaron and Renee laughed with the pure joy Rod had created! Many years later, I was staying with Sylvia while her hip recovered. We were enjoying our evening vespers (I always LOVED vespers at their house!!). I knew it was a two-glass-kind-of-wine night. In an efficient move, I poured myself a double glass. Well, Rod saw my glass and did a Bugs Bunny eye-popping and jaw-dropping expression. Ha ha! Adorable!! I was never sure if Rod was jealous, impressed or just shocked, but I loved that Rod could still be delighted and surprised and SHOW how he felt. Rod's dedication to his health was inspirational! He swam, he walked -- he was always moving!! Unless, of course, he was enjoying vespers or one of Sylvia's bountiful, gourmet meals. Rod was always so generous with either a listening ear and/or sage advice. He was NEVER judgemental with us. Rod was always ready to help with airport or pizza runs. Rod was a wonderful person to know. He knew that he was loved and cared for, and that enabled him to be free to pursue his interests. His solid foundation of love from his family was projected onto everyone Rod met. Our lives are richer for having known Rod. Rest in Peace, Rod. You've earned it.

  • 04/18/2022

    Sending my condolences to Sylvia and her family on their loss. Antoinette Brown

  • 04/17/2022

    Rod and Sylvia were longtime friends and nearby neighbors. We will miss you and your dedication to peaceful endeavors throughout your life, Rod. God bless you and keep you in the palm of his hands.

  • 04/16/2022

    Uncle Rod was a good man who will be greatly missed by both friends and family. Let perpetual light shine upon him, may Rest In Peace

Add a Candle

Click a candle below to add a candle to your message.